NEW YORK — Two nephews of the first lady of Venezuela were sentenced to 18 years in prison for attempting to smuggle 800 kilos of cocaine into the United States.
Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 32, and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 31,are nephews of Cilia Flores, the wife of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. They had been convicted by a federal jury in November.
“Mr. Campo Flores and Mr. Flores de Freitas were perhaps not the most astute drug dealers who ever existed,” U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty noted as he handed down the sentences. “They were in over their heads.”
Prosecutors had alleged that the dopey drug dealers had worked with drug traffickers in Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras as well as with terrorists from the Colombian group FARC, to smuggle drugs from a hanger used by President Maduro, to the United States.
The two men told informants working with the DEA that they intended to use some of the proceeds to finance their aunt’s run for a seat in Venezuela’s national assembly.
They were arrested in November 2015 in a drug sting in Haiti and extradited to the United States.
Following their convictions, Maduro blasted the case in a speech as an example “U.S. imperialism.” He has frequently cast U.S. accusations of drug trafficking as a pretext for meddling in Venezuela and trying to topple him.