The PJ Tatler

Walid Makled extradited to Venezuela

I know that this post’s title is a yawner if you haven’t been following this story, but the fact is, the US has missed an opportunity to unravel the nexus between narcotics traffic, the Chavez government in Venezuela, and terrorism. Walid Makled may be the most prolific drug trafficker in recent history, allegedly responsible for shipping about 10 tons of cocaine into the US each month. He also had a network of Venezuelan officials on his payroll, going very high up in that government. After his arrest on US warrants in Colombia, Makled said that if extradited to the US he would spill on everything he knows about the Venezuelan government’s connections to both drug traffic and terrorism. But the Obama administration whiffed, and now Colombia has extradited Makled to Venezuela. Here is what the US is now very unlikely to learn more about, from the kingpin in the Venezuelan jail.

Makled says he has videotapes and other evidence documenting his transactions with the generals and with other senior government officials — provincial governors, members of Congress, cabinet secretaries. He says he has information about Venezuela’s help for Hezbollah and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

All this, he said repeatedly in an interview with the Univision network, “I will tell to the prosecutor” in New York, where Makled has been indicted on drug charges. That could give the Justice Department the evidence to indict, and the Treasury Department the grounds to sanction, scores of Venezuela’s top leaders.