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USA: Trump admin charges Maduro with drug trafficking, offers $15m reward for capture

*NO CUTAWAYS AT SOURCE**BUGS AT SOURCE*
SOT, William Barr, US Attorney General: "Today I'm here to talk about the former Maduro regime and its direct participation in narcoterrorism, corruption, money laundering, and drug trafficking."
SOT, William Barr, US Attorney General: "As you will hear, the Department of Justice is announcing the unsealing of a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York against four defendants, including Nicolas Maduro as well as the current head of Venezuela's constituent assembly, the former director of military intelligence, and a former high ranking general for their involvement in narcoterrorism."
SOT, William Barr, US Attorney General: "The indictment of Nicolas Maduro and his co-defendants alleges a conspiracy involving an extremely violent terrorist organisation, known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - the FARC - and an effort to flood the United States with cocaine."
SOT, William Barr, US Attorney General: "However there is a dissident group of about 2,500 FARC members and they have taken up on the border between Venezuela and Colombia. These FARC dissidents continue to be involved in drug trafficking and armed insurgency. They have obtained the support of the Maduro regime who is allowing them to use Venezuela as a safe haven from which they can continue to conduct their cocaine trafficking and their armed insurgency."
SOT, Geoffrey S. Berman, US Attorney for Southern District of New York: "The scope and magnitude of the drug trafficking alleged was made possible only because Maduro and others corrupted the institutions of Venezuela and provided military and political protection for the rampant narcoterrorism crimes described in the charges. As alleged, Maduro and the other defendants expressly intended to flood the United States with cocaine in order to undermine the health and well being of our nation."
SOT, Geoffrey S. Berman, US Attorney for Southern District of New York: "While Maduro and the other cartel members held lofty titles in Venezuela's military and political leadership, the conduct described in the indictment wasn't statecraft or service for the Venezuelan people. As alleged, the defendants betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuelan institutions to line their pockets with drug money. The defendants called their cartel the Cartel of the Suns. The name they chose reflects the cartel's identity and operations."
SOT, Geoffrey S. Berman, US Attorney, Southern District of New York: "This is Maduro, the leader of the Cartel of the Suns. He is charged, along with his co-defendants, with conspiracy to commit narcoterrorism, conspiracy to import hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States, and related weapons offences. These charges carry with them a mandatory minimum sentence of 50 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life."
SOT, Geoffrey S. Berman, US Attorney, Southern District of New York: "If anyone is aware of such travel, we also want them to be aware that the State Department has offered an award of 15 million dollars for the capture and conviction of Maduro."
W/S Attorney General Barr, question from reporter: "Hi there. It's good to see you. This is basically an unprecedented action and it comes at a time of a global pandemic when all countries are weakened. And so I guess I hope you can tell us a little bit more about why you're doing this now and explain the timing."
SOT, William Barr, US Attorney General: "Well this has been in the works for a long time. And actually, we could have gone a little bit earlier before the the full brunt of the pandemic struck us. But actually this is good timing because the people in Venezuela are suffering."
SCRIPT
US Attorney General William Barr announced that his Justice Department was bringing drug trafficking charges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Washington DC on Thursday.
The charges levelled against Maduro, include "conspiracy to commit narcoterrorism, conspiracy to import hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States, and related weapons offences," according to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman.
"As alleged, Maduro and the other defendants expressly intended to flood the United States with cocaine to undermine the health and well being of our nation," added Berman.
"The State Department has offered an award of 15 million dollars for the capture and conviction of Maduro," emphasised Berman.
The charges described also implicate several members of Venezuela's ministerial cabinet and military, who were given 10 million dollar rewards for their arrest and capture.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza dismissed the charges on Twitter saying that they were based on "shameless lies"