HomeNewsBriefTrial of Venezuelan Kingpin Makled Begins Behind Closed Doors
BRIEF

Trial of Venezuelan Kingpin Makled Begins Behind Closed Doors

CARTEL DE LOS SOLES / 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

COCAINE / 7 AUG 2019

Venezuela’s anti-narcotics agency reported that marijuana made up 80 percent of the country’s drug seizures in the first six months…

BOLIVIA / 18 MAY 2015

In a series of contentious but dubious allegations, a former military official from Bolivia has accused the presidents of Bolivia and…

CONTRABAND / 2 MAY 2013

The Venezuelan government has declared it will launch a renewed assault on gasoline trafficking in the Colombian border region, but…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.