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US judge postpones hearing in drug case of Venezuela first lady’s nephews

November 17, 2015

A U.S. federal judge has postponed until next month a hearing in the drug smuggling case of two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady at the request of their lawyers, court documents showed Tuesday.

Efraín Antonio Campo Flores, 29, and Francisco Flores de Freitas, 30, had been scheduled to appear Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to smuggle at least five kilos of cocaine into the United States.

The two — sons of brothers of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores — were arrested in Haiti a week ago and flown to New York by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

Neither President Nicolás Maduro nor his wife have commented on the case, although the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, on Monday denounced the arrests as a “kidnapping.”

In Manhattan, federal judge Paul Crotty approved a defense request to postpone Wednesday’s hearing and rescheduled it for Dec. 2, according to the court documents.

The arrests have come as Venezuelans are preparing to go to the polls on Dec. 6 for legislative elections that polls show could end the ruling party’s 16-year-old control of the National Assembly.

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