The Obama administration has apparently allowed one of the biggest alleged drug kingpins in Latin America, if not the world, to slip through its fingers instead of being extradited to the United States to face a pending federal indictment in New York.
To make matters worse, this particular druglord claims to have information that would expose the complicity of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s government in drug trafficking.
Charges that Mr. Chávez’s cronies assist drug traffickers have been around for years. “It is public knowledge that Venezuela has become an increasingly important country in the operations of narcotics cartels and from it drugs are flowing in worrisome amounts through Central America to Mexico and the U.S. and via West Africa to Europe,” Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said recently.
But no one has been able to name names and offer precise bribery figures — until Walid Makled came along and began singing. Last August, acting on a warrant out of New York, Makled was arrested on the Colombian-Venezuelan border by Colombian officials acting on a U.S. warrant.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration accuses him of shipping up to 10 tons of cocaine a month from Venezuela to the United States. In subsequent jailhouse interviews with Univision, Makled claims he couldn’t have done it without government help.
He boasted of having more than 40 Venezuelan generals on his payroll. Makled, a Venezuelan national, says he handed out $5.5 million in one year to the current Venezuelan navy commander to use a warehouse concession in Puerto Cabello to stash his illicit goods. And, he insisted, he was willing to repeat his charges to U.S. prosecutors, and that he has videotapes and other documentary evidence.
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