HomeNewsBriefVenezuela First Lady’s Brother Implicated in International Drug Deal
BRIEF

Venezuela First Lady’s Brother Implicated in International Drug Deal

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 9 SEP 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

The brother of Venezuela’s first lady reportedly set up an international cocaine trafficking deal that landed her nephews in US federal court, another indication that involvement in the drug trade reaches high levels of the Venezuelan government.

In a New York courtroom on September 8, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Sandalio Gonzalez testified that a confidential informant known as “El Sentado” received a call in October 2015 from a man named Bladimir Flores, who appears to be the brother of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores.

According to reports from investigative journalist Maibort Petit and the McClatchy news service, Gonzalez said Bladimir Flores told “El Sentado” that he would send Flores’ nephews Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas to meet with him to discuss a cocaine deal.

Court documents reviewed by InSight Crime describe “El Sentado,” also known as CW-1, as a well-known Honduran drug trafficker who began secretly cooperating with the DEA in May 2015 after being indicted on drug charges in the US.

Also in October 2015, presumably after receiving the call from Bladimir Flores, “El Sentado” contacted the DEA to alert the agency about the potential participation of the first lady’s nephews in a drug trafficking scheme.

The DEA then set up a sting operation that resulted in the nephews’ arrest in Haiti in November 2015. “El Sentado” was killed less than a month later in Honduras.

Both Flores and Campo have pleaded not guilty to the drug trafficking charges. The two men signed written confessions after their arrests, but their lawyers have argued that they were not properly informed of their rights. Prosecutors deny that this was the case.

In addition to Flores and Campo, the United States has also accused other high-level Venezuelan government figures of involvement in drug trafficking.

In August, for example, federal prosecutors unsealed drug charges against the former general director of Venezuela's anti-drugs agency, Nestor Luis Reverol Torres, and the former sub-director of that agency, Edylberto Jose Molina Molina. The next day, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro named Reverol to head the Interior Ministry.

InSight Crime Analysis

The previously unreported allegation that Cilia Flores’ brother put her nephews in touch with “El Sentado” revives questions about whether Campo and Flores were indeed the brains behind the trafficking operation, or whether other elements of the Venezuelan government were also involved. InSight Crime has previously raised the possibility that the nephews were serving as political cover for the Cartel of the Suns, a drug trafficking group composed of members of Venezuela’s security forces.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Cartel of the Suns

According to the DEA agent Gonzalez, Campo and Flores both denied that they needed to coordinate with Venezuelan government officials in order to ship drugs out of the country; they claimed they had special access to Caracas' Simón Bolívar International Airport due to their relationship with the wife of President Nicolás Maduro. However, in light of Gonzalez’s testimony, it seems increasingly implausible that Campo and Flores were the top figures in the alleged conspiracy to traffic some 800 kilograms of cocaine from Venezuela to the United States.

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 / 29 SEP 2021

Accused paramilitary drug lord “Memo Fantasma,” or “Will the Ghost,” has petitioned a judge to be let out of a…

AUC / 28 OCT 2021

Accused paramilitary drug lord Guillermo León Acevedo, alias "Memo Fantasma," will remain in a high-security Colombian prison, where he has…

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 JUN 2021

Running for office in Mexico means risking one's life. Just one week ahead of local elections on June 6, at…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…