US prosecutors join Venezuela navy and oil firm to drug trafficking in federal trial – JURIST

The federal trial of Carlos Orense Azocar (Orense) started this week, the place he faces accusations of transport tens of 1000’s of kilograms of cocaine into the USA with suspected ties between Venezuelan oil and navy leaders. With sure court docket paperwork sealed, Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press had entry to the courtroom on Monday. Orense, alias “El Gordo,” has pleaded not responsible to three counts of narcotics importation, conspiracy, and possession of machine weapons and different damaging units.

In accordance with the federal government’s motions in limine, the proof states Orense coordinated with members of the Cártel de Los Soles and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) since 2003. The movement offered says the defendant transported 1,500 kilograms of narcotics through airplane utilizing Venezuelan navy transponder codes. The estimated distribution of cocaine to the US was 40 tons per yr. The defendant additionally bought automatic rifles to FARC and obtained fraudulent Venezuelan identification playing cards for his safety element. Allegedly, an unnamed govt of US Citgo Petroleum helped Orense launder the cash it had earned way back to the mid-2000s. The court docket movement mentions that protected witnesses will testify to the oil govt’s position. Previous US accusations of Venezuelan involvement led to the indictment of President Nicolas Maduro in 2020 on US narcoterrorism fees.

In a deposition, a particular agent for the federal government addressed the conspiracy allegations of Orense and a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief in maritime and aviation drug commerce coordination. The agent recounted a posh internet of transport and personal jet routes protected by the Venezuelan navy. Inside Metropolis Press reported that Orense’s lawyer told the jury, “All 4 cooperating witnesses had been simply drug traffickers who wished to remain within the USA, one among whom tried to kill Orense.” The protection claims Orense merely owns profitable finca or ranches, referred to as Los Garanones. The federal government introduced a former driver of Orense to the stand who confirmed Venezuelan military involvement.

This month’s court docket paperwork emphasize that the “defendant’s reliance on and bribes to navy officers and public officers [are] staggering in magnitude.” Bribing officers in trade for cover required giant quantities of drug proceeds, and the US authorities says it’ll set up proof of quid professional quo by testimony of witnesses and the defendant’s mobile phone information with Venezuelan public officers.

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