For Immediate Release – Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Contact – Stephanie DuBois, (202) 225-2536; [email protected]
MACK OUTRAGED OVER TRANSFER OF NOTED
DRUG KINGPIN TO VENEZUELA
Demands answers from Obama Administration on inaction to bring Makled-Garcia to the U.S.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14), the Ranking Republican of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, blasted the Obama Administration today for allowing drug kingpin Walid Makled-Garcia to be extradited to Venezuela instead of the United States. Makled-Garcia, one of the world’s most significant drug kingpins under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, is currently in custody in Colombia after he was arrested on U.S. charges in August.
Mack said: “It is absolutely outrageous that the Obama Administration dropped the ball in requesting the extradition of noted drug trafficker Walid Makled-Garcia to the United States. Colombian President Manuel Santos stated today that Bogota first received an extradition request from Venezuela. As a result of the Obama Administration’s stalling and inaction, Makled-Garcia will be sent to Venezuela, where we have no hope of obtaining valuable information about Venezuela’s drug trafficking activities.
“This is just another example in a long line of foreign policy failures by the Obama Administration to take a hard stand against Hugo Chavez and other thugocrats in the region. The Administration’s continued pandering to these dangerous leaders, their neglect of our vital allies, and their stalling on important security decisions threatens the security and stability of the entire hemisphere. I demand answers from the Administration as to why they stalled – and eventually failed – to have Makled-Garcia extradited to the United States.”
The text of Mack’s letter to Secretary Clinton and Attorney General Holder is below:
November 16, 2010
Dear Madam Secretary and Mr. Attorney General:
I write to you today out of extreme concern and discontent regarding the failure of the State Department and the Department of Justice to secure the extradition to the United States of Venezuelan drug trafficker Walid Makled-Garcia, a “drug kingpin” as labeled by President Obama. This is not only bad policy for the United States, but it is an insult to the men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who put their lives on the line to help apprehend this drug lord and issue the actual warrant for his arrest in Colombia.
I do not need to describe to you the severe consequences caused by the Venezuelan airstrips that launch drug-filled cargo planes spreading illicit drugs through Africa, Central America, Mexico and the United States, as found by U.S. prosecutors. Nor do I need to explain the honorable work of the DEA to intercept the trafficking of drugs while having to navigate the lack of a working relationship with Venezuela. Today, an immeasurable injustice has been served to our men and women at the Department of Justice and to the security of nations across the globe plagued by drug trafficking violence.
Today’s news that drug kingpin Walid Makled-Garcia will be extradited to Venezuela signals a major win for drug traffickers around the world. Once in Venezuela, Makled-Garcia will not receive a fair trial and will not publicly expose his corrupt relations with Venezuelan authorities.
I ask you to provide me with the dates that the Department of Justice was aware of the crimes committed by Walid Makled-Garcia, the role the DEA played in the capture of Makled-Garcia in Colombia, and the date of the U.S. extradition request for Makled-Garcia to be sent from Colombia. I also ask for a written explanation for the lag in time between the arrest of Makled-Garcia in Colombia and the request for his extradition to the United States.
In closing, it is my hope that this grave breakdown of U.S. foreign policy will produce a review of how we work with important allies in our hemisphere. The relationship between the United States and Colombia has experienced an extremely negative turn over the last two years, and other traditional U.S. allies in the region are facing serious challenges to democratic governance as a result of our neglect. If we continue down this path, we will face a lasting, detrimental impact to the security and prosperity of our nation and the entire region.
I look forward to receiving your prompt response and working with you on these critical issues.
Member of Congress
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