Renowned drug trafficker Walid Makled has revealed the details of his supposed links to dismissed Venezuelan Supreme Court judge Eladio Aponte, Radio Caracol reported Wednesday.
Aponte “was my partner in the [airline] Aeropostal (…) and was paid 300 million bolivars ($70 million),” Makled said, without further elaborating, during his ongoing trial behind closed doors for alleged drug trafficking, contract killings and money laundering in Venezuela.
According to Associated Press, Aponte, 63, is accused of assisting Makled get a special government identity card and manipulating court cases, which resulted in his dismissal from Venezuela’s National Assembly March 20 and the government requesting an international warrant for his arrest.
Aponte caused uproar in Venezuela last week by alleging links between Venezuelan officials and the illegal drug trade, leading President Hugo Chavez to label him a “delinquent.”
According to news website Global Post, Aponte is in the United States and working closing with the country’s Drug Enforcement Agency to bring new drug charges against members of the Venezuelan government.
The former magistrate has admitted to knowing Makled, 41, and to having done favors for officials linked to drugs and guerrillas, according to Radio Caracol.
When Makled was arrested in Colombia last year, he claimed he had “strong evidence” linking senior Venezuelan government and military officials to the drug trade. The barring of press from his current trial has led to speculation that Venezuelan authorities are trying to silence him, according to analysis website Insight Crime.
In May 2011 Makled was officially charged with murder, drug trafficking and money laundering. The U.S. and his home country both sought the extradition of the alleged drug trafficker, with Colombia eventually opting to send him to Venezuela in April 2011.