Two relatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have been arrested and brought to New York on charges they conspired to transport cocaine to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The two men, Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in an undercover operation after trying to negotiate a deal to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine allegedly destined for New York.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Campo Flores is a nephew of the president’s wife, Cilia Flores. Flores de Freitas reportedly identified himself to U.S. authorities as a stepson of Maduro.
Fusion could not immediately confirm the report. Venezuela government officials have not publicly commented on the arrests.
Both men were arrested on Tuesday by Haitian police and handed over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and transported aboard a DEA jet to New York the same day. They are scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Thursday.
Their arrests comes as U.S. prosecutors are investigating several senior Venezuela government officials, including Parliamentary Chief Diosdado Cabello, who is widely seen as the second most powerful politician in the country, for possible cocaine trafficking and money laundering. Cabello has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Citing two people familiar with the case, the Journal reported that agents filmed and taped meetings between the two men and a DEA informant. In the meetings, the two Venezuelans brought nearly a kilogram of cocaine that was to be eventually sold in New York.
The arrests occurred weeks before legislative elections are scheduled to be held in Venezuela.