HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Drug Trafficker Turned Informant Sentenced: Lightly
BRIEF

Venezuela Drug Trafficker Turned Informant Sentenced: Lightly

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 FEB 2015 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Notorious Venezuela drug trafficker Walid Makled has been sentenced to 14 years in prison but absolved of several crimes in what is a surprisingly lenient verdict considering both the charges he faced and the accusations he leveled against Venezuelan officials.

On February 10, a judge in Caracas sentenced Makled to 14 years and six months in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering, reported Semana. Makled was absolved of weapons and organized crime charges, as well as charges related to the murder of veterinarian Francisco Larrazabal.

Venezuela's Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said her office would appeal the court's decision and investigate the judge, Ali Fabricio Paredes, for favoritism, reported El Universal. Paredes was arrested shortly after Ortega's announcement.

Two of Makled's siblings –-Basel and Alex Makled -- were sentenced to eight years in prison for money laundering, while a third sibling was convicted of weapons concealment, according to Semana.

InSight Crime Analysis

Given the high level of politicization in Venezuela's judiciary system, it is surprising that Makled was absolved of several charges. After he was arrested in Colombia in 2010, Makled thoroughly embarrassed the Venezuelan government by claiming he had evidence that implicated high-level military and government officials in his drug trafficking operations. He also stated that he had financed one of former President Hugo Chavez's campaigns in exchange for concessions at a major port, Puerto Cabello.

Venezuela's Attorney General's Office no doubt plans to rectify what they see as a lenient sentence by appealing the court's decision and arresting the judge. Makled's testimony gave the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) a substantial amount of dirt on Venezuelan officials, likely leading to sanctions like the blacklisting of former head of military intelligence General Cliver Alcala by the US Treasury. He also provided information on the Cartel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns), a shadowy group of high-level Venezuelan military officials involved in cocaine trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Cartel de los Soles News and Profile

Prior to his arrest, Makled reportedly facilitated the smuggling of up to 10 tons of cocaine a month destined for the United States. Makled used his family's businesses and contacts to broker drug shipments for the Cartel of the Suns and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), among other groups. When he went public with his allegations, he famously quipped, "All my business associates are generals."

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

COVID AND CRIME / 15 SEP 2020

A black market for an antiviral drug used to treat coronavirus has emerged in Venezuela, revealing that even expensive, lifesaving…

COLOMBIA / 14 OCT 2013

The governor of Colombia's La Guajira department, a major organized crime hub, has been arrested in a case which…

CIACS / 6 SEP 2016

The president of Guatemala has fired the two highest-ranking officials in the executive's security service after they were accused of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…