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U.S. investigators to charge Venezuelan officials


New Jersey prosecutors are likely aware that some top officials in Venezuela are said to be on the verge of facing charges related to drug trafficking. A source says that federal prosecutors in New York plan to charge a general in the country's national guard who also used to be with the country's anti-drug office. The head of the national guard will also be charged.

This will not be the first time prominent Venezuelans have faced drug charges from the United States. Two nephews of the country's first lady were taken into custody in Haiti in November and transferred to the United States where they have been accused of trying to transport nearly 1,800 pounds of cocaine.

In the past, Venezuelan officials have responded to reports about drug investigations with accusations that the United States is trying to destabilize the government. This time, they did not respond to efforts from news organizations to reach them.

The consequences of a drug-related conviction can be severe even for people who are not in positions like these. Even minor convictions might affect a person in some careers, and there may also be fines, jail time and other penalties. People facing these types of charges might want to discuss their options with a criminal defense attorney. Depending on the severity of the charges and the person's situation, different strategies may be appropriate. For example, one person may want to work to get the charges dismissed while another might be primarily concerned with how much time they might spend incarcerated. A plea bargain might be appropriate because it usually allows a person to plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges.

Source: Fox News, "U.S. to charge Venezuelan military officials with cocaine trafficking," Dec. 16, 2015

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