Drug trafficking and the corruption of law enforcement is a worldwide problem that undermines the prosecution of criminals, integrity of government officials and encourages unjust systems. As a recent case of Venezuelan law enforcement corruption shows, drug trafficking based in other countries can seriously impede America’s war on drugs.
VENEZUELAN OFFICIAL BUSTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING IN U.S.
In January 2015, two major Venezuelan high-ranking officials were indicted for drug trafficking. Nestor Luis Reverol Torres, former head of La Oficina Nacional Antidrogas (The National Anti-Drugs Office) and formerly in charge of the Venezuelan National Guard, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York. Edylberto Jose Molina, the former sub-director of The National Anti-Drugs Office, was also indicted. According to an official press release from the Department of Justice, the two men are accused of abusing their authority in an effort “to stop or hinder ongoing narcotics investigations” and of helping to bring cocaine into the U.S.
POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR REVEROL, MOLINA
Drug trafficking is a serious offense in the U.S. and carries significant penalties. In addition to drug trafficking charges, the two may also be charged with a slew of other crimes often present within drug trafficking prosecution by the Department of Justice: obstruction of justice, conspiracy, weapons charges, money laundering, and charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to name a few. The defendants’ actions can result in fines, lengthy prison sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, and probation.
DRUG TRAFFICKING AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION
Sadly, cases similar to those of Reverol and Molina occur frequently throughout the world and pose a significant threat to the global war on drugs. There are many benefits to drug traffickers from infiltrating government agencies. These benefits include:
- Avoiding criminal charges
- Making the trafficking of drugs easier
- Gain protection for themselves and family members
- Acquire insider information on law enforcement investigations
- Opportunities to legitimize businesses and for money-laundering
- Influence future legislation or regulations
One of the most prevalent benefits of infiltrating law enforcement is that it allows traffickers to avoid criminal charges. When law enforcement turns a blind eye, there is nothing else to impede a drug trafficker’s activities. When drug traffickers have law enforcement and government officials on their side, it is easier for them to move their products either via mass transportation or on the streets. Gaining the protection of law enforcement for themselves and for family members can protect them from other offices that would otherwise prosecute.
Law enforcement may also feed drug traffickers insider information on law enforcement investigations, allowing them to subvert the investigation or retaliate against those who would testify against them. Teaming up with law enforcement also allows drug traffickers to find opportunities to launder drug money and locate fronts they can use to legitimize their businesses. Finally, drug traffickers can use law enforcement connections to influence future legislation by leaning heavily on officials to pass favorable regulations or prevent unfavorable ones from being enacted.
DRUG TRAFFICKING ASSISTANCE
Facing charges for drug trafficking? Speaking with an experienced drug trafficking lawyer will help you better understand your charges, penalties, and possible defenses. Those in California can call to speak with an attorney for free and obtain a full case evaluation.