According to an indictment, the US Department of Justice alleged that the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other country’s leaders used cryptocurrency to cover drug-dealing operations.
The indictment notes that with Nicolas, 14 other Venezuelan officials leveraged their political and financial power to conceal their activity in the criminal operations for over 20 years. DOJ Also added cryptocurrency was also in use to disguise crimes related to narco-terrorism, corruption, and drug trafficking. Moreover, they also claimed that these officials represented themselves as the ‘lead for Cartel of the Suns’ which sought to weaponize cocaine against the United States.
US DOJ named two members of Guerzas Armadas Revolutionaries de Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla group recognized as a terrorist entity. It was alleged that these officials and Nicolas conspired with the terrorist organization FARC to facilitate the importation of cocaine into American countries. US Attorney, Geoffrey S. Berman calls it “weaponization” of drug trafficking against the US.
In a press release related to the indictment, Alysa D.Erichs, Acting Executive Director of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) says the DOJ’s movement represent the country’s commitment towards a stern action against those;
“Who exploit financial systems and hide behind cryptocurrency to further their illicit criminal activity”
Despite president was named as one among those who used crypto to cloak activities, the indictment didn’t specifically name the country’s oil-backed Petro token or other cryptocurrencies.
While Nicolo turned as crypto proponent as soon as Venezuela launches its Petro token, the US’s leaders, on the other hand, focused on suppressing him. However, so far the economic sanctions only acted as a way to stifle him and the latest indictment comes as evidence that the American top regulators can move forward with the actions like this.
It’s worth noting that Nicolo during the time of Petro token launch stated that the asset would be backed by 5 billion barrels worth of oil, however, in November last year, he stated that the amount of barrel has only 30 million barrels worth of oil for petro.