Federal prosecutors in New York will announce drug charges Thursday against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other government officials, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
The charges include narco-terrorism conspiracy, cocaine importation conspiracy and weapons possession conspiracy. Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, will formally discuss the charges at a news conference.
Prosecutors allege that Maduro and the other Venezuelan officials named in the indictment "participated in a corrupt and violent narco-terrorism conspiracy" between the Venezuelan "Cartel of The Suns" and Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces group FARC, which is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
According to the indictment, the officials were members of the cartel, which has worked to "facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine in into the United States" since 1999.
Maduro, who later became a leader of the cartel, "prioritized using cocaine as a weapon against America and importing as much cocaine as possible into the United States," the indictment said.
Thursday's indictment describes him as "a Venezuelan citizen" who was "previously the president of Venezuela" and is "now the de facto ruler of the country."
The indictment calls for all of the defendants, including Maduro, to forfeit any and all property derived from the alleged offenses.