Pence praises DEA for helping to convict members of Maduro's family of cocaine smuggling

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has congratulated the Drug Enforcement Administration for helping bring drug trafficking convictions against several members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's family and inner circle.

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Maduro's socialist regime and it is backing the claim to Venezuela's presidency by Juan Guaido, who heads the South American nation's opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Speaking to several dozen DEA employees, Pence said Thursday: "Your investigations have targeted the corrupt narco-dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro and helped bring drug trafficking indictments and convictions against several members of Maduro's family and inner circle."

Two nephews of Maduro's wife were found guilty in New York of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. and sentenced in 2016 to 18 years in prison.