Key Venezuelan drug-trafficker arrested in Colombia
By Dialogo August 25, 2010 “The devastating testimony of Markled-Garcia comes in a vacuum of new evidence of Chavezâ€™s support to terrorist groups in Spain, Colombia and Middle East and his illegal and explicit support to the nuclear weapon programme of Iran. Slowly but inevitably, Chavez is being unmasked as the head of a criminal regime”. Birds of a feather flock together. Walid Makled Garcia, a well-known alleged Venezuelan drug smuggler who had been branded a major kingpin by the U.S. government, was arrested in Colombia on August 19. Makled Garcia was one of several drug-trafficking suspects against whom the White House requested sanctions under the Kingpin Act, a law which prohibits all transactions between traffickers and U.S. companies and individuals, freezing any assets in the U.S., reported the Associated Press (AP). The suspect, who was wanted in Venezuela since November 2008, was arrested in the Colombian city of Cucuta, located near the border with Venezuela, said Colombian national police director, Gen. Oscar Naranjo on August 20. Although Makled Garcia proclaimed his innocence at the time of his arrest, he is implicated in two killings in Venezuela, including the slaying of newspaper columnist Orel Zambrano by two gunmen on a motorcycle in January 2009. Zambrano had been covering cases in which the Makled family was accused of being involved. In 2008, authorities also seized cocaine from a ranch Makled Garcia owned, leading to the arrest of his three brothers Abdala, Alex and Basel, according to the report by AP. Calling Makled Garcia a “pseudo-businessman” whose money came from illegitimate drug operations run by him and his family, Naranjo considered the arrest of the 43-year-old son of Syrian immigrants, “an important counter-drug victory for Colombian and U.S. authorities,” and said Venezuelan authorities also contributed, reported AP.