A New York judge has sentenced two nephews of the Venezuelan president’s wife to 18 years in prison for their conviction on drug conspiracy charges.
Judge Paul Crotty announced the sentences in Manhattan federal court after the men apologized for their crimes.
A jury convicted Efrain Campo, 31, and his cousin, Francisco Flores, 33, in November 2016. The nephews of Cilia Flores were convicted of conspiring to import more than 770 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. Flores is the wife of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
A prosecutor said their crime was egregious because the men wanted to raise money in part to keep their family in power.
The judge rejected a request by prosecutors that the men be sentenced to 30 years in prison. The defence had requested no more than 10 years.
The judge said he was struck by the bumbling nature of the men, saying they “were not the most astute drug dealers who existed. They were in over their heads.”
Defence lawyers told Crotty the men were novices to the drug trade and never actually transported any drugs.
Campo and Flores listened to the court proceeding through headphones.
The men spoke briefly before being sentenced. “I know that I have made very serious mistakes in this case,” Campo Flores said, apologizing to his wife and children. “I’ve always been a good person,” Flores de Freitas said. “Even in jail I tried to help those who were in a worse psychological situation than I find myself in.” He asked that the judge allow him to return to Venezuela soon to be near his son.
Each of them was fined $50,000 US.
Source : cbc