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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 1, 2016

Former Top Leaders Of Venezuela’s Anti-Narcotics Agency Indicted For Trafficking Drugs To The United States

The Former General Director and Sub-Director of Venezuela’s La Oficina Nacional Antidrogas Allegedly Received Payments from Narcotics Traffickers

An indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Nestor Luis Reverol Torres, the former General Director of Venezuela’s La Oficina Nacional Antidrogas (ONA) and former commander of Venezuela’s National Guard, and Edylberto Jose Molina Molina, the former Sub-Director of ONA and currently Venezuela’s military attaché to Germany, with participating in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy.[1]  The indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, on January 21, 2015, and relates to Reverol’s and Molina’s alleged activities from January 2008 to December 2010, when they served as the top officials for ONA, Venezuela’s government agency charged with combating narcotics trafficking.

The indictment was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; and Angel Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.

According to court documents, from January 2008 to December 2010, in their then official capacities at ONA, Reverol and Molina received payments from drug traffickers in exchange for assisting the drug traffickers in distributing cocaine for ultimate importation into the United States.  For example, in exchange for such payments they alerted the traffickers to future drug raids or the locations where law enforcement officers in Venezuela were conducting counter-narcotics activities to allow drug traffickers to change the location where they stored drugs or alter drug transportation routes.  They also took steps to stop or hinder ongoing narcotics investigations to allow cocaine-laden vehicles to leave Venezuela and arranged for the release of individuals arrested for narcotics violations and the release of narcotics and narcotics-related currency that had been seized by law enforcement.  Reverol and Molina also prevented the arrest or deportation of individuals targeted by foreign countries, such as the United States, for prosecution on drug-related charges.

The indictment is the second indictment unsealed in the Eastern District of New York against alleged corrupt high-level officials in Venezuela who allegedly assisted narcotics traffickers in importing cocaine into the United States.  On March 20, 2013, a third superseding indictment was unsealed charging Vassyly Kotosky Villaroel Ramirez, also known as “Mauro” and “Angel,” a captain in the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional, and Rafael Antonio Villasana Fernandez, an officer in the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional, with participating in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy between January 1, 2004 and December 1, 2009.  According to court documents, Kotosky and Villasana allegedly used official government vehicles to transport more than seven metric tons of cocaine from the Colombian border to various airports and seaports in Venezuela for ultimate importation into the United States.

“The indictment announced today reflects our ongoing efforts to combat one of the most insidious and dangerous aspects of the international drug trade – the ability of drug cartels to infiltrate and corrupt the highest echelons of government and law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Capers.  “Nothing can be more damaging to law enforcement’s efforts to stop the flow of illegal drugs than when corrupt public officials violate the public’s trust by actively assisting drug traffickers in their deadly criminal activities.”  Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force[2] and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York El Dorado Task Force,[3] the agencies responsible for leading the investigation, and to the invaluable assistance provided by the DEA Bogota Country Office, the DEA Miami Field Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Hunt stated, “As alleged, Nestor Luis Reverol Torres and Edylberto Jose Molina Molina used their positions of power to enable drug trafficking organizations, all the while hindering law enforcement’s efforts to thwart them.  Simply put, the indictments send a message that here is no difference between a drug trafficker and a drug trafficker who leads anti-narcotics trafficking efforts.  Drug law enforcement working in the U.S. and overseas will continue to stop those at every level and every profession who supply or abet the distribution of poison to American doorsteps.”  

“Today’s indictment emphasizes that no one is above the law.  These former government officials allegedly used their positions of trust to feed their greed, and along the way betrayed their oath of service by warning drug traffickers of sensitive law enforcement operations,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez of HSI New York.  “We will continue to work tirelessly with our federal and international law enforcement partners to expose criminals who attempt to cross our borders with illicit drugs.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Gina M. Parlovecchio and Hiral Mehta are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

NESTOR LUIS REVEROL TORRES
Age:  51
Venezuela

EDYLBERTO JOSE MOLINA MOLINA
 Age:  53
Venezuela

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-020

 


 

[1] The charge in the indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[2] The New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprises agents and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police.

[3] HSI New York Office’s El Dorado Task Force comprises over 240 members from more than 29 law enforcement agencies in New York and New Jersey – including special agents, state and local police investigators, intelligence analysts, and federal prosecutors – with the assistance of the task force’s High Intensity Financial Crimes Area (HIFCA)/Intelligence Unit.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 1, 2016