Prosecutors in Miami want to seize $2.5 million from two Venezuelans

Authorities accuse two Chavistas of helping Colombian drug traffickers


MIAMI – Prosecutors in Miami Tuesday were moving to seize about $2.5 million from two prominent Venezuelan Chavistas linked to drug trafficking.

The bank accounts of Hugo Carvajal and Benny Palmeri-Bacchi are in Wells Fargo and Espirito Santo Bank, a federal prosecutor said. Both men were accused of helping the Colombian North Valley Cartel to ship cocaine to the U.S.

In a 2013 indictment Carvajal -- the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence -- was accused of working with the cartel to ship cocaine from 2004 to 2008. The U.S. Treasury Department also accused Carvajal in 2008 of funneling weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Carvajal was the consul general of Aruba, the beach destination of the government's elite. Authorities of the former Dutch colony arrested him July 22 on a U.S. warrant. U.S. officials accused Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro of strong-arming Aruba into releasing Carvajal Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Palmeri-Bacchi -- a former Venezuelan judge -- was arrested Friday in Miami on his way to a vacation at Walt Disney World, the Miami Herald reported. Bacchi, 46, is facing conspiracy to obstruct justice, money laundering and extortion charges, the report said.

Maduro hosted a welcome party for Carvajal. Palmeri-Bacchi was not so lucky.  He plead not guilty to the charges in federal court in Miami.

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