HomeNewsBriefTrial of Venezuelan Kingpin Makled Begins Behind Closed Doors
BRIEF

Trial of Venezuelan Kingpin Makled Begins Behind Closed Doors

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 10 APR 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

The trial of Walid Makled, a drug kingpin who claims that he worked with Venezuela's political and military elite, has started in a closed courtroom in Caracas, fuelling concerns he may be silenced by the authorities.

The trial of Makled (pictured) and at least eight of his associates began on April 9, with no journalists or members of the public allowed into the courtroom. According to El Universal, only six people other than the legal teams were present on the first day, all of them related to the accused.

The defendants stand accused of crimes relating to murder, drug trafficking and money laundering. One of them, Luis Jose Gonzalez, was sentenced on Monday to 11 years and six months in jail after pleading guilty to drug trafficking. He was linked to 380 tons of cocaine seized by the authorities at Makled's family ranch in November 2008.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, an anti-Chavez lawmaker, protested against the closed-door status of the trial, saying that it had "started on the wrong foot."

Makled was arrested in the Colombian border city of Cucuta in August 2010, having been on the run since the 2008 raid. After months of diplomatic wrangling, with Caracas and Washington both requesting his extradition, he was sent to Venezuela in May last year.

InSight Crime Analysis

Banning the press from Makled's trial will only increase speculation about the kingpin's ties to Venezuela's security forces and political elite. In a television interview before his extradition last year, Makled claimed that at one point he had five congressmen on his payroll, along with at least 40 high-ranking military officers. One of those named is current Defense Minister Henry Rangel Silva. Makled also stated that he has several "compromising" videos linking members of Hugo Chavez's government to drug trafficking.

These accusations may have been inspired, in part, by Makled's wish to avoid extradition to Venezuela, where he is unlikely to get a fair trial. However, he is certainly well-placed to offer insight into the growing drug trade through the country. The chance of his claims being investigated is looking increasingly slim, despite the efforts of those like Rodriguez, who has been pressing Congress for a full investigation into Makled's allegations.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COUNTERFEIT / 3 DEC 2014

Police in Peru have disbanded a criminal organization that manufactured counterfeit dollars for markets in Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and the…

ARGENTINA / 3 AUG 2017

For the eighth year in a row, an annual report from the Gallup polling organization has ranked Latin America as the…

COLOMBIA / 13 MAR 2018

US President Donald Trump has announced that current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…