Venezuelan Opposition Campaigner Arrested on Drug Charges in Russia

A prominent organiser for Venezuela’s political opposition has been arrested in Russia on drug charges, according to reports Wednesday.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

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An image circulated on social media of David posing with National Assembly head Ramos Allup in Moscow. (via Ciudad CCS)
An image circulated on social media of David posing with National Assembly head Ramos Allup in Moscow. (via Ciudad CCS)
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Puebla, Mexico, October 7, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – A prominent organiser for Venezuela’s political opposition has been arrested in Russia on drug charges, according to reports Wednesday.

Carlos David Mendez was arrested in Moscow in August for allegedly smuggling cocaine, according to Venezuelan pro-government newspaper Ciudad CCS. The newspaper claimed it has confirmed David was captured by Russian authorities in an airport near Moscow, and is now being held in custody.

David has long been a prominent advocate for Venezuela’s political opposition. In 2012 and 2013, he reportedly coordinated a campaign to encourage Venezuelan nationals in Russia to vote for opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, and is now part of a support campaign for the opposition coalition, the MUD. Ciudad CCS also claimed to have uncovered a recent photograph of David with the MUD’s head of the National Assembly, Ramos Allup during a visit to Moscow.

David’s alleged arrest hasn’t been widely covered in the Russian media, and the MUD is yet to comment on the Ciudad CCS story.

The allegations come just weeks after the Venezuelan government was hit with renewed allegations of links to the drug trade. In August, US prosecutors accused former Venezuelan counter narcotics head Nestor Reverol and his second in command Edylberto Molina of conspiring to smuggle cocaine to the US.

The Venezuelan government has dismissed similar allegations against senior officials in the past as politically motivated.