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U.S. Treasury Designates Venezuelan Vice President as a Drug Kingpin

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-02-14 23:16:03
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The U.S. Department of the Treasury has designated Venezuelan vice president Tareck El Aissami [reuters.com] a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking":

Venezuela's powerful vice president on Tuesday called his blacklisting by the United States on drug charges an "imperialist aggression" in the first flare-up between the two countries under new U.S. President Donald Trump. "We shall not be distracted by these miserable provocations," said Tareck El Aissami, the most senior Venezuelan official yet sanctioned by the United States.

[...] The U.S. Department of Treasury on Monday labeled El Aissami a drug "kingpin," accusing him of facilitating shipments by air and sea, and having links to drug gangs in Mexico and Colombia. El Aissami joined a sanctions list that already includes a half-dozen other Venezuelan officials or former officials. The designation allows the Treasury Department to freeze assets in the United States and prevents them from conducting financial transactions through the United States.

[...] El Aissami, whom local media say is of Syrian and Lebanese descent, grew up poor in the Andean state of Merida. He was a lawmaker, interior minister and state governor for the ruling Socialist Party before becoming vice president last month. A long-time confidant and member of Chavez's and Maduro's inner circles, El Aissami was given wider powers as vice president in a decree last month and is being touted in some circles as a possible future president.

Press release [treasury.gov] at the Department of the Treasury website. Also at Miami Herald [miamiherald.com] and Bloomberg [bloomberg.com].


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