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US Offers $20Mln in Rewards for Info Leading to Arrest of 3 Ex-Venezuelan Officials, Pompeo Says

© REUTERS / Larry Downing / The U.S. State Department
The U.S. State Department - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is offering rewards of up to $20 million in total for information that lead to the arrest of three former Venezuelan public officials, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement on Tuesday.

"Today, the US Department of State announces rewards of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Venezuelan national Pedro Luis Martin-Olivares and up to $5 million each for information leading to the arrests and/or convictions of Venezuelan nationals Rodolfo McTurk-Mora and Jesus Alfredo Itriago", Pompeo said.

The secretary of state noted that the former Venezuelan public officials are fugitives from justice.

Pompeo explained that Martin-Olivares is a former Chief of Economic Intelligence who was indicted on April of 2015 in Florida for distribution of a controlled substance, knowing that it would be illegally imported into the United States, as well as possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance on board an aircraft registered in the United States and conspiracy to import a controlled substance.

"McTurk-Mora, the former head of Interpol in Venezuela, was charged in the SDFL on 19 December 2013 with: conspiracy to import cocaine, importation of cocaine into the United States, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and corrupting and impeding an official in violation of US law", Pompeo said.

Venezuela’s anti-drug official Jesus Alfredo Itriago was charged in Florida in January 2013 with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance knowing that it would be unlawfully imported into the United States.

Last week, the US announced new sanctions against Maduro, imposed over his cooperation with Iran.

A lot of the Western sanctions introduced against Venezuela have targeted the country's state-run oil and gas company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its subsidiaries in an attempt to seize its foreign assets and prevent the firm from completing transactions.

Venezuelan National Militia members and supporters of President Maduro's government rally against the blocade imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, in Caracas, Venezuela. - Sputnik International
Venezuela Aims to Overcome Effects of US Sanctions With New Legislation, Maduro Says
On 22 September, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced fresh sanctions against five Venezuelan individuals. The Treasury Department said they were current or former members of the Venezuelan government who had colluded with Maduro in a scheme to manipulate the parliamentary elections and to undermine any credible opposition challenge to the government. Maduro condemned the sanctions, calling them illegal.

In January 2019, Venezuela plunged into a political crisis when the then-head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust re-elected President Maduro from power. The United States and most Western countries endorsed Guaido and slapped crippling sanctions on Venezuela. Russia, China, Turkey, and other nations supported Maduro.

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