News Daily Spot: Cilia Flores nephews will be presented today in federal court in New York

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Cilia Flores nephews will be presented today in federal court in New York

Two nephews of the powerful Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores faced charges in New York after being arrested in Haiti on charges of conspiring to smuggle out 800 kilos of cocaine into the United States, according to people familiar with the case, reported Associated Press.

It is likely that the arrest of Efrain Flores and Francisco Campo aggravate already tense relations between Washington and Caracas, and strongly attract attention to US charges of drug trafficking there in the highest levels of the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The arrest came just three weeks before crucial elections that polls show could deal the ruling party its worst defeat in 16 years amid a triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages of products in Venezuela.

"The timing is not exactly perfect," said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington research group Inter-American Dialogue, in an email on Wednesday after news of the arrests.

"The arrests Maduro could give the excuse he needed to declare a state of emergency and postpone the elections. He attributed the arrests to American imperialism and seen as an attempt to undermine his government. "

In televised remarks Wednesday night, the influential chairman of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello did not directly to the arrest of the nephews of reference Cilia Flores, but warned that Washington was trying to destabilize the government before the elections Maduro.

The Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and the Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the arrests, saying they had no information. Flores and Maduro did not comment.

Flowers and Fields were arrested on Tuesday and moved to America, where they were set a hearing on Thursday in federal court in New York, said a member of the security forces Americans who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the case.

The men were arrested in the Haitian capital, Port au Prince, after arriving from Venezuela on a private plane, said Michael Vigil, former head of international operations at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA, for its acronym in English) and was informed by the US authorities on the long undercover operation. The two men were carrying diplomatic passports but have no diplomatic immunity, he said.

Campos also said claimed to be the son of Flores and Maduro stepson.

Another person familiar with the incident, who agreed to discuss the case on condition that his name not be divulged, said Campos is the son of a sister of flowers and died and was raised by the first lady and Maduro.

Flores, who Maduro called the "first fighter" is one of the most powerful members of the revolutionary government of Venezuela and constantly accompanies her husband in public events. Both traveled to Saudi Arabia this week for a summit meeting of Arab and South American countries, and it is expected to be with the president on Thursday, when he will address the UN Human Rights Council at a special meeting convened in Geneva at the request of Venezuela.

Flores, former president of the National Assembly now has been postulated to Congress began its relationship with Maduro in the 1990s while serving as attorney Hugo Chavez, who at the time was in prison. Maduro was one of many left-wing activists attracted by the charismatic young army officer after he was arrested for a failed coup attempt in 1992. They married in 2013, shortly after Maduro was elected president.

US prosecutors have gradually increased the pressure on senior members of the armed forces, police and the government of Venezuela for his alleged role in making the country a major transit area for narcotics bound for the United States and Europe. The US government says more than 200 tons of cocaine pass through Venezuela each year, about one third of the estimated results in Colombia.

But although Venezuelan officials, including a former defense minister and military intelligence chief, have been formally charged or punished in the United States, and many more are under investigation, no drug research had previously played the inner circle of Maduro.

The Associated Press reporter Jorge Rueda worked in this office in Caracas and AP reporter Joshua Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia. AP reporters Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington, Tom Hays in New York, Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas and Jacobo Garcia in Bogota contributed to this report.

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