Agence France-Presse

Eladio Aponte: Venezuela seeks arrest of judge fired for alleged link to drug suspect

Hugo Chavez salutes his people.


Juan Barreto

Venezuela's Prosecutor General's office said Friday it has put out an international request through Interpol for the arrest of former Supreme Court magistrate Eladio Aponte.

According to the Associated Press, Aponte, 63, is accused of assisting prominent drug suspect Walid Makled get a special government identity card, and was dismissed by Venezuela’s National Assembly on March 20. Costa Rican officials said the former judge arrived in that country earlier this month and left for the United States on Tuesday on a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plane.

Aponte — a retired colonel and former chief military prosecutor — is expected to share potentially embarrassing information with the DEA, reported the Buenos Aires Herald. The divulgence of the information could possibly lead to new drug charges against members of the Venezuelan government.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicholas Maduro said Aponte had "sold his soul to the DEA," according to the Herald. He also accused the United States of using a Venezuelan fugitive as a political tool to attack the Chávez government. DEA representatives in Miami and Washington declined to comment, according to Reuters.

In a television interview aired earlier this week, Aponte accused the Venezuelan government and military of manipulating court cases, reported the AP.

"It's very corrupt at every single level. There's a lot of manipulation," Aponte said in the interview, which was taped in Costa Rica by Miami-based online TV channel Soi TV, according to Reuters.

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