Three Russian citizens have been charged in Venezuela over a cocaine smuggling plot aboard a tanker headed to Belgium, local media reported, citing prosecutors.
Venezuela’s National Guard reportedly seized 147 kilograms of cocaine in a raid on the Jose Progress tanker earlier this month. Twenty people were detained in connection to the plot, including Russian, Ukrainian, Filipino and Venezuelan nationals, according to media reports. Russian nationals were implicated in a cocaine-smuggling plot earlier this year after over 350 kilograms of cocaine were discovered on the grounds of the Russian Embassy in Argentina.
The names of the three Russians charged with drug trafficking have been published by Venezuela’s Prosecutor’s Office, the El Cooperante news outlet reported Saturday.
The Russian Embassy in Caracas has not yet confirmed the detention of the citizens, the state-run RIA Novosti news said Sunday.
Venezuela’s Justice Minister Nestor Reverol posted a picture on his Twitter account earlier this month which appears to show that the seized cocaine had been hidden in bags labeled with famous fashion brands, including Gucci and Chanel.
The ship, which is currently being held by local authorities, sailed under a Panamanian flag and was headed for the Belgian port of Ghent, El Cooperante reported, citing prosecutors.