US Imposes Sanctions on Venezuelan Vice-President for Alleged Drug-Trafficking

Washington, The US imposed Tuesday sanctions on Venezuela's new Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of drug trafficking.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that the 42 year-old was on its list for drug trafficking, along with one of his main partners Samark Jose Lopez Bello. The two are on a drug-trafficking list under what is known in American media as the Kingpin Act. The sanctions basically block any assets belonging to the two men in question in the US, if they have any. It also prohibits any US citizen or entity from carrying out any dealings or transactions with them.

A statement from the OFAC said that El Aissami has facilitated drug shipments out of the country through his control of air bases and shipping ports. The office said that the new vice president received money to facilitate the trafficking of drugs that allegedly belongs to the network of Walid Makled Garcia "OFAC's action today is the culmination of a multi-year investigation under the Kingpin Act to target significant narcotics traffickers in Venezuela and demonstrates that power and influence do not protect those who engage in these illicit activities," The Miami Herald quoted OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith as saying today.

El Aissami, who is of Syrian and Lebanese descent, was appointed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as Vice President in January of this year. Before that, El Aissami served as governor of Venezuela's Aragua state from 2012 to 2017.

Source: Qatar News Agency