CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug. 4 (UPI) — A Venezuelan general indicted in the U.S. on cocaine trafficking charges has been named as Venezuela’s new interior and justice minister by President Nicolas Maduro.
An indictment filed in a Brooklyn court, unsealed Monday, accuses Gen. Nestor Reverol and his former deputy Edylberto Molina of taking bribes from drug traffickers when the pair led Venezuela’s anti-drug agency.
Reverol, 51, previously served as interior minister under former late President Hugo Chavez and also recently served as the head of the Bolivarian National Guard. Molina, 53, is serving as Venezuela’s military attache in Germany.
Maduro said he promoted Reverol to show his support amid “attacks from the empire” — the United States.
“In the United States are there no kingpins? It is the country that consumes the most drugs,” Maduro said during a televised address.
Prosecutors accuse Reverol and Molina of warning drug traffickers of upcoming raids and of giving them the location of law enforcement officers in exchange for bribes.The pair are also accused of obstructing drug investigations to allow U.S.-bound drugs to leave Venezuela and worked to free people arrested in drug cases.
Any assets the men have in the United States were seized after the indictment. Reverol has denied involvement in the drug trade.
“As interior minister, he broke the world record for capturing traffickers; that is why they want to make him pay — the DEA and all the U.S. drug mafias,” Maduro said during a televised address. “That’s why I have named this brave, combative, experienced man.”