Meet Gen. Néstor Reverol:
He was Commander General for Venezuela’s National Guard, and the former general director of Venezuela’s Oficina Nacional Antidrogas (National Anti-Drug Agency, or ONA).
On Tuesday this week, he was indicted in the U.S. for his participation in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy, along with Edylberto Jose Molina Molina, the former sub-director of ONA and currently Venezuela’s military attaché to Germany:
According to court documents, from January 2008 to December 2010, in their then official capacities at the ONA, Reverol and Molina received payments from drug traffickers in exchange for assisting in the distribution of cocaine for ultimate importation into the United States. They also interfered with ongoing narcotics investigations to allow vehicles carrying cocaine to leave Venezuela. The pair arranged for the release of individuals arrested for narcotics violations and organized the release of narcotics and narcotics related currency that had been seized by law enforcement. Reverol and Molina further prevented the arrest or deportation of individuals targeted by foreign countries, such as the United States, for prosecution on drug-related charges.
Right away, Maduro promoted Reverol to Interior and Justice Minister,
The investigations are a response to a sharp increase in drug trafficking in Venezuela, which U.S. officials and analysts say has taken place as traffickers moved operations out of Colombia, where they were under heavy pressure from the government. The officials say Venezuela’s government and military have been eager to allow—and, ultimately, to control—cocaine smuggling throughout the country.
In 2013, about 131 tons of cocaine, about half the cocaine produced in Colombia, moved through Venezuela before being transported to the U.S. and Europe, according to U.S. estimates.
Venezuela’s armed forces and particularly the National Guard, a stand-alone force that is distinct from the army and is charged with internal police duties, are enmeshed in the drug trade, U.S. officials and analysts say.
Maduro is simply following a tradition: Six years ago,
Three Venezuelan officials designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2008 as low-level kingpins for helping FARC have achieved high positions in Chavez’s regime.
General Henry Rangel Silva was promoted to Strategic Operational Commander of the Bolivarian Armed Forces, according to the reliable blog site Caracas Gringo, a command second only to Chavez.
Former Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez-Chacin, whose FARC ties date to the 1980s, claims to be dying of cancer. But his top lieutenant, Col. Miguel Rodriguez Torres, now heads Sebin, Chavez’s new spy service. Meanwhile, the third of the narco-triumvirate, Gen. Hugo Carvajal, remains head of Venezuelan military intelligence.