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US indicts Venezuela's Maduro on narcoterrorism charges, accused of conspiring to 'flood US with cocoaine'

The sweeping action is bound to heighten tensions as the coronavirus threatens to collapse a health system and oil-dependent economy.
Credit: AP
At Fort Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela. On Thursday, March 26, 2020 (AP)

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolás Maduro and several key aides on charges of narcoterrorism. 

The department accused them of conspiring with Colombian rebels "to flood the United States with cocaine." 

The sweeping action is bound to heighten tensions between Washington and Caracas as the spread of the coronavirus threatens to collapse a health system and oil-dependent economy driven deep into the ground by years of corruption and U.S. sanctions. 

Maduro accused the U.S. and Colombia of “giving orders to flood Venezuela with violence.” 

The U.S. State Department is offering rewards of up to $55 million for information leading to the arrests or convictions of Maduro and his associates.