Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, has been indicted on U.S. federal drug-trafficking charges, a major escalation in the Trump administration’s campaign to force Maduro from power, according to a federal official briefed on the matter.
The charges will be announced at a news conference Thursday morning in Washington led by Atty. Gen. William Barr. Federal prosecutors are expected to allege that Venezuelan leaders took a major stake in the illicit drug trade in hopes of helping rebels in neighboring Colombia.
Charges are expected to be unsealed against nearly a dozen other other Venezuelan government officials who were allegedly part of that effort, which started more than a decade ago under the government of the late Hugo Chavez.
A Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, declined to comment ahead of the news conference. Advertisement
The Trump administration has sought for more than a year to oust the socialist Maduro while the country plunges into economic decay.