US arrests Venezuela first lady's nephews

  • 12/11/2015
Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores (Reuters)
Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores (Reuters)

US agents have arrested two nephews of Venezuela's first lady for allegedly conspiring to smuggle 800 kilos of cocaine into America, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The arrests are likely to further exacerbate already tense relations between the US and Venezuela, who have not kept ambassadors in their respective capitals since 2010.

Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas were arrested in Haiti on Tuesday (local time) by local police, handed over to US agents and flown the same day to New York, the newspaper said on Wednesday, citing two unnamed people "familiar with the matter".

The two men are due to appear before a US federal judge in New York on Thursday, the Journal added.

Campo Flores, 29, identified himself on the plane as a stepson of President Nicolas Maduro who had been brought up by his aunt, first lady Cilia Flores, the newspaper said.

The Journal said the other man identified himself as a nephew of Cilia Flores, a former president of Venezuela's National Assembly and defence lawyer for Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chavez.

The two men allegedly contacted a US Drug Enforcement Administration informant in Honduras in October and asked for help in trafficking 800 kilos of cocaine, the Journal reported.

In Venezuela, they later brought a kilo of the cocaine – allegedly to be sold in New York – to a confidential informant to show off its quality, the paper said.

The meetings were filmed and taped by US agents, the Journal quoted a source familiar with the case as saying.