Alleged Maduro accomplice surrenders to U.S. agents, will help prosecution: sources
CARACAS/BOGOTA (Reuters) - U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents on Friday remanded in custody retired Venezuelan general Cliver Alcala, three people familiar with the matter said, after he agreed to work with prosecutors who charged him, President Nicolas Maduro and other top officials with drug trafficking.
Alcala surrendered to DEA agents in Colombia and waived his right to challenge extradition, the three people told Reuters. He was flown to White Plains, New York from the port city of Barranquilla, where he had been living.
The White House and a DEA spokeswoman referred questions to the U.S. Department of Justice, which declined to comment. The State Department did not reply to a request for comment. Colombia’s National Police declined to comment.
The U.S. government on Thursday indicted Maduro, Alcala and 13 other current and former Venezuelan officials on charges of “narco-terrorism”, the latest escalation of a pressure campaign by U.S. President Donald Trump administration to oust the socialist leader.
Attorney General William Barr accused Maduro and his associates of colluding with a dissident faction of the demobilized Colombian guerrilla group, the FARC, “to flood the United States with cocaine.”
Maduro, in a state television address, dismissed the charges as false and racist, and called Trump a “miserable person.”
The U.S. State Department had offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to Alcala’s arrest, while there is a reward of up to $15 million for information aiding Maduro’s detention.
The indictment alleged that Alcala and other top officials received bribes from the FARC in exchange for safe passage for cocaine shipments sent through Venezuela.