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US Penalizes Venezuelan Ex-Official for Alleged Drug Trafficking

US Penalizes Venezuelan Ex-Official for Alleged Drug Trafficking

The sanctions targets include Pedro Luis Martin Olivares, a former Venezuelan intelligence official now under indictment in Florida on drug trafficking charges.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, told a conference on Latin America at the US State Department that the people of the South American country were "unwilling victims of a criminal narco-state".

"The so-called elections in Venezuela scheduled for May 20 will be nothing more than a fraud and a sham", Mr Pence said.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the sanctions during a speech at the Organization of American States in Washington D.C., describing the subjects as narcotics "kingpins" with direct ties to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime.

Vice President Mike Pence will on Monday announce new USA sanctions against Venezuela and call for a "sham" May election to be delayed.

"We believe it is time to do more, much more", Pence said in an address to the OAS in Washington.

The action freezes any of their assets in the US or held by people in the U.S.




The Treasury Department said in a statement that Martin used his government position to accept bribes from drug traffickers, and helped facilitate the movement of multi-ton loads of cocaine through Venezuelan airspace.

The funding announcement comes roughly a month after Vice President Pence announced that the USA would provide almost $16 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans who have fled a deepening economic and political crisis in the country. Maduro asked a crowd in a rally on Tuesday in southern Amazonas state, condemning the USA president and vice president for sanctions on his government.

The Trump administration has also been weighing new oil-related sanctions on a Venezuelan oil services company and on insurance coverage for tankers carrying Venezuelan oil.

Of the newly sanctioned companies, 16 are based in Venezuela and four in Panama.

Martin is also accused of laundering the narcotics' proceeds through planes full of US dollars, couriers and contracts with third parties. They are owned or controlled by the three individuals, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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