The second most powerful man in Chavismo, Diosdado Cabello, and former intelligence chief Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal sent 1.3 tons of cocaine to France, according to the criminal charges against them in the United States.
“In or about September 2013, months after Maduro Moros succeeded to the Venezuelan presidency, the Cartel of the Suns dispatched 1.3 tons of cocaine on a commercial flight from the Maiquetia Airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport” according to the document presented by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office.
The Attorney General’s Office explains that Maduro reportedly rebuked both Cabello and Carvajal for using Venezuela’s main airport for drug trafficking, and alluded to a 2006 seizure in Mexico.
“French authorities seized the cocaine. Following the seizure, Maduro Moros canceled a trip to attend a session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, citing to the media purported death threats against him. In Venezuela, Maduro Moros convened a meeting with, among others, Cabello Rondon and Carvajal Barrios. During the meeting, Maduro Moros told Cabello Rondon and Carvajal Barrios, in substance and in part, that they should not have used the Maiquetia Airport for drug trafficking after the 2006 seizure in Mexico, and that the Cartel de Los Soles should instead use its other well-established drug routes and locations to dispatch cocaine.” the document said.
The document stems from the criminal accusation announced by the United States on March 26. The Trump administration filed charges against Maduro, Cabello, and Carvajal for drug trafficking and offered 15 million and 10 million USD for information leading to their arrest.
We have to remember that in 2013, international media reported on the seizure of drugs coming from Venezuela; what was not known at that time was that the cocaine belonged to the Cartel of the Suns led by Cabello.
“The cocaine was found in suitcases loaded on an Air France cargo flight, and its market value is estimated at 50 million euros,” according to reports.
In 2015, a report by the Spanish newspaper ABC also reported that Cabello had also sent drugs to Europe through Spain. The article already referred to the investigations opened in the United States against the Cartel of the Suns and specifically against Cabello.
“About the drugs that leave Venezuela- 90% is produced in Colombia and distributed from Venezuelan soil, about five tons a week. They not only go to the United States but also reach Europe, with Spain as an important point in the routes followed by the mafias, mainly the Cartel of the Suns, the parastatal organization of the Venezuelan drug trade,” the report says.
An investigation by InSight Crime states that the term “Cartel of the Suns” is used to describe groups within the Venezuelan security forces that smuggle cocaine. According to Insight Crime, the Cartel of the Suns mainly comprises military officers, who set the price of cocaine in the country.
A three-year investigation by InSight Crime also concluded that Venezuela became a haven for Colombian drug trafficking and smuggling. “The guerrilla was one of the first to develop cocaine trafficking through Venezuela, to markets in the United States and Europe, while the Venezuelan contraband gasoline flowed in the opposite direction,” the investigation says.