Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s nephew and first lady Cilia Flores boasted in conversations with confidential informants that he had been trafficking drugs since he was a teenager, according to secret recordings of his talks that were heard Thursday in court.
Efraín Campo boasted of his ability to get airplanes to carry drugs, negotiate with a French narco, and the comparative costs of doing business in Europe instead of Central America during those talks.
“I’m 30, I’ve been doing this since I was 18”, “Campo said in a recorded conversations.
Several audio and video recordings of Campo’s conversations with confidential informants were heard on the fourth day of the notorious trial that allegedly links the Venezuelan president’s family and his wife to illicit drug trafficking.
Campo, now 31, and his cousin Francisco Flores, also 31, face charges of conspiracy to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The recordings are key for the prosecution to prove that the accused are not the naive victims of a political plot, but rather the willing and able agents of a plan to exploit their political ties in order to carry out a cocaine trafficking transaction for $ 20 Million that would have helped his aunt’s political campaign and keep her family in power.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential informant, Jose Santos Peña, returned to the witness stand on Thursday to describe several of the audio and video recordings he made of his encounters with the accused last year in Venezuela .
Campo could be heard in one of them saying that he wanted to start “immediately”. In a video, the members of the jury were able to listen to Campo putting on latex gloves that, according to Santos, the defendant put on before presenting the alleged cocaine.
Filmed from waist height or below, video images are hard to distinguish, shaky and often blocked by a table. But you can see and hear Campo and Flores. In one of them you can see Campo grab and manipulate a block of white powder.
“He asked one of his bodyguards for a knife to open the kilogram of cocaine,” Santos told the jury.
Santos gave details about his almost 30 years of experience as an international drug trafficker working mainly in Mexico. He described his own cocaine abuse, and he tested the quality of cocaine by examining its coloration and odor.