Nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Reportedly Arrested by U.S. Officials for Alleged Drug Trafficking

Two young men, reported to be the nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores, were arrested this weekend in Haiti by US authorities and will allegedly face charges of drug trafficking in a New York federal court.

By Z.C. Dutka
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Photo: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds hands with his wife, Cilia Flores, as they arrive for a meeting in the Summit of South American-Arab Countries in Riyadh on Nov. 11. (Handout/Reuters)
Photo: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds hands with his wife, Cilia Flores, as they arrive for a meeting in the Summit of South American-Arab Countries in Riyadh on Nov. 11. (Handout/Reuters)

Santa Elena, November 12th, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com)- Two young men, reported to be the nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores, were arrested this weekend in Haiti by US authorities and will allegedly face charges of drug trafficking in a New York federal court.

The case was made public yesterday after an anonymous US law enforcement official told reporters that the suspects, Francisco Flores and Efrain Campos Flores, were attempting to transport 800 kilograms [over 1700 pounds] of cocaine in a deal with undercover US agents. 

Venezuelan media reports that Campos Flores is the son of a deceased sister of the First Lady Flores, and was partly raised by the presidential couple as their godson.

According to Michael Vigil, a former head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the two men were arrested after traveling from Venezuela to Port-au-Prince in a private plane.

Vigil, who claims to have been briefed by authorities who took part in the eight-month undercover operation leading up to the arrests, said the two were carrying diplomatic passports, but did not possess diplomatic immunity.

Venezuela does not produce cocaine as its neighbor Colombia does, but in a recent interview Vigil insisted that around 25 percent of the drugs produced in South America are transported through the country. 

Former president Hugo Chavez kicked the DEA out of Venezuela in 2005 after accusing the organization of espionage and drug trafficking. 

No official response has been made by Venezuelan authorities. 

News analysts have claimed imbalanced media coverage regarding the Flores arrests, pointing to the general silence following last month’s arrest of Olivier Martelly, son of Haitian President Michael Martelly, who is also facing alleged drug charges in the US.  

Additionally, activists have juxtaposed the apparent efficiency with which US authorities trapped the Venezuelan men, when the DEA has been unable to locate the fugitive, notorious drug kingpin and accused death squad leader Guy Philippe, who ran for Haitian parliament in 2006.