NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A New York jury convicted two nephews of Venezuela's first lady on drug trafficking charges, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced.
Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 31, and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 30, nephews of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores, the wife of President Nicolas Maduro, were accused of attempting to send more than 1,700 pounds of cocaine from Venezuela to Honduras and ultimately to the United States.
Both men -- who were given the moniker of "Narco Nephews" by Venezuelan media -- were arrested in Haiti in November 2015 during a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operation. The men contacted a DEA informant because they wanted to arrange shipment from Honduras to the United states.
"Venezuelan drug traffickers, Campo Flores and Flores de Freitas, found guilty today after trial," Bharara wrote in a tweet on Friday.
The defense team argued the men were victims of a U.S. government sting operation and that the case against them relied largely on testimony from a DEA informant who is also a drug dealer.
The prosecution said the men exploited their position for personal gain through illicit means.
"The defendants thought they were above the law. They thought they could operate with impunity in Venezuela because of who they were and who they were related to," U.S. Attorney Brendan Quigley said in his closing statement.