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Press Release

Former Venezuelan General Sentenced To 260 Months In Prison For Providing Material Support To The FARC

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CLÍVER ANTONIO ALCALÁ CORDONES was sentenced to 260 months in prison for providing material support, including firearms, to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the “FARC”).  ALCALÁ CORDONES pled guilty on June 29, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, who imposed today’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As a high-ranking member of the Venezuelan military and the Cártel de Los Soles, Clíver Antonio Alcalá Cordones and his co-conspirators sought to weaponize cocaine as they helped the FARC arm its members and ship tons of drugs to the United States.  Alcalá Cordones corrupted the vital institutions of his own country as he helped the FARC flood this country with cocaine — but no longer.  Instead, he will now spend more than two decades in a United States prison.”

According to court documents and statements made during court proceedings:[1]

ALCALÁ CORDONES, a Venezuelan citizen and a former general in Venezuela’s military, along with other high-ranking Venezuelan officials, acted as leaders and managers of the Cártel de Los Soles, or “Cartel of the Suns.”  ALCALÁ CORDONES and other Cartel members abused the Venezuelan people and corrupted the legitimate institutions of Venezuela — including parts of the military, intelligence apparatus, legislature, and judiciary — to facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine into the United States in partnership with the FARC, a violent organization based in Colombia that was dedicated to the overthrow of the Colombian government and responsible for the production and distribution of the majority of the cocaine that eventually reached the United States.  The Cártel de Los Soles sought not only to enrich its members and enhance their power but also to weaponize cocaine by inflicting the drug’s harmful and addictive effects on users in the United States.

Beginning in or about 2006, ALCALÁ CORDONES took advantage of his position in the Venezuelan military, including his command of thousands of heavily armed military officers, to provide support to the FARC as the FARC distributed tons of U.S.-bound cocaine.  Among other things, ALCALÁ CORDONES (i) prevented FARC members and associates from being arrested by Venezuelan law enforcement or being engaged by the Venezuelan military; (ii) provided protection, including freedom of movement and freedom from interference, for FARC members and associates that the defendant knew trafficked cocaine; and (iii) provided high-powered weapons to the FARC, including directly to high-ranking FARC leaders such as Luciano Marín Arango, a/k/a “Iván Márquez,” and Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, a/k/a “Timochenko.”  ALCALÁ CORDONES also directly participated in the FARC’s cocaine distribution.  Among other things, ALCALÁ CORDONES participated in meetings with some of the largest drug traffickers in South America, during which they discussed how ALCALÁ CORDONES and other members of the Cártel de Los Soles could assist in their cocaine distribution.  ALCALÁ CORDONES also personally intervened to ensure that large shipments — over thousands of kilograms of cocaine — were not interdicted by law enforcement in Venezuela.  In exchange, ALCALÁ CORDONES received millions of dollars in cocaine-fueled bribes.

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ALCALÁ CORDONES, 62, of Caracas, Venezuela, pled guilty to providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the FARC, and for knowingly receiving and transferring firearms, knowing and having reasonable cause to believe that such firearms would be used to commit a federal crime of terrorism, namely, the provision of material support and resources to the FARC.  In addition to the prison term, ALCALÁ CORDONES was sentenced to three years of supervised release. 

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) operation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit, Miami Field Division, the OCDETF New York Strike Force, and the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, and the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section’s Judicial Attaché’s Office.

This case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas S. Bradley, Kaylan E. Lasky, Kevin T. Sullivan, and Kyle A. Wirshba are in charge of the prosecution.

[1] Communications, conversations, and statements discussed and quoted herein are described in substance and in part.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated April 8, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
National Security
Press Release Number: 24-118