nicolas maduro
Cilia Flores (L), whose nephews were arrested in Haiti in Wednesday and accused by U.S. officials of smuggling 800 kilos of cocaine into the U.S., walks with her husband Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C). Assembly President Diosdado Cabello (R) is also accused of involvement with drug trafficking by the U.S. government, based in part on the testimony of a bodyguard who defected from the government and left Venezuela. Above, the trio arrive at the 22nd anniversary of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's attempted coup d'etat in Caracas February 4, 2014. Maduro has accused the U.S. of conspiring to perpetrate similar coups against his government. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Nephews of the Venezuelan first family Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas were arrested in Haiti on Wednesday in connection with alleged cocaine trafficking, Reuters reported. The men are both nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores. Maduro swiftly took to Twitter and denounced “attacks and imperialist ambushes,” vowing that “the fatherland will continue its path.” It’s unclear what Haitian agency, if any, performed the arrest, but the two suspected drug traffickers were quickly handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Flores and Freitas face charges in New York of allegedly facilitating a shipment of 800 kilos of cocaine, according to the New York Times. Maduro’s government has face increasing pressure from the U.S. over alleged drug smuggling, with reports of the DEA claiming that Venezuela’s government has converted the country into a cocaine hub connecting Colombian coca to America buyers. Venezuelan National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, Maduro’s right-hand-man, is also accused of facilitating drug trafficking.

Maduro has denounced U.S. accusations as imperialist propaganda, while DEA officials have been raising the ax for months, telling reporter -- mostly off the record -- that they’ll prove a massive drug corruption scandal soon. The accusations come at a time of economic and political crisis in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Bolivar is tanking, a global drop in oil prices is hitting government revenue and some reports indicate that the country is dumping gold reserves to meet its foreign debt payments.

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