The president of Venezuela on Wednesday cast suspicion on an American law enforcement agency saying his nation is probing the American drug enforcement officers to learn whether or not they are involved in narcotics trafficking in his country.
President Nicolas Maduro announced that his own law enforcement officials are investigating whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was involved in a recent criminal case involving a multi-million dollar cocaine smuggling operation, according to Jerry Langher, a former narcotics detective and director of corporate security.
"After the gun-smuggling snafu by [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] U.S. federal agents on what's known as Operation Fast and Furious, more political leaders are finding it easier to make outrageous accusations against the United States," said Iris Aquino, a former NYPD police official.
"The [Fast and Furious] scandal gives Maduro's accusation against the DEA more credibility than it would otherwise enjoy," she added.
French officials interdicted almost a ton-and-a-half of cocaine from a commercial flight from Caracas, Venezuela to Paris, France, on Sept. 11, 2013. The confiscated cocaine shipment is believed to be worth upwards of $270 million (U.S. currency) on American streets, according to Langher.
During his visit to the Bolivarian National Guard base in Caracas, Maduro promised that such an occurrence would not be repeated in his country.
"The people responsible are imprisoned here in Venezuela. It's something that should not have happened. Drug trafficking has great power and this incident is being used as a political weapon to label Venezuela as a 'narco-state'," said Maduro.
"We are investigating whether the [U.S. DEA ] is behind this case," he added.
"Wherever the DEA is, there are drugs, and what this looks to have been is a controlled handover of drugs," he alleged.
Venezuela stopped working with the DEA during the Hugo Chavez presidency, when in 2005 Chavez accused the DEA of infiltrating Venezuela's narcotics enforcement units.
Despite spending tens of millions of U.S. dollars on surveillance along its northern and southern borders, the United States failed to interdict the tons of drugs entering the U.S., Maduro claims.
"U.S. agencies will accuse us of being a 'narco-state', but we fight drug trafficking. This is a campaign to morally attack our armed forces," he said.
According to Langher, about 20 alleged Venezuelan drug traffickers were arrested in connection with the drugs found on the Air France flight that left Caracas in September.