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In Venezuela Cartel Case Citing Maduro Alcala Got 260 Months Now Pollo Says No Motions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 29 – Cliver Antonio Alcala Cordones is charged as part of a wide indictment of the Venezuelan "Cartel de Los Soles" and Colombia's FARC.  Also charged: El Pollo, due in New York on July 20, 2023, see below.

  On June 7, 2021 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.

  The indictment cites Nicolas Maduro, and said he "coordinated foreign affairs with Honduras and other countries to facilitate large-scale drug trafficking."  

  Jump cut to November 30, 2022, when not only the UN's Antonio Guterres but now the Administration in Washington, eager for oil, has taken a different view of Maduro. But the case goes forward - in a pre-trial proceeding attended by Inner City Press, the US asked for a July 2023 trial date and got one, July 10 - threadette:

OK - now at Venezuela narco case of US v. Carvajal-Barrios, et al., proceeding delayed for some by lack of interpreter....

  Asst US Attorney says wants July trial date for today's defendant Cliver Antonio Alcala Cordones - but DOJ is still providing discovery from another case.

Judge says July 10 trial, "no adjournments."

Then, guilty plea- of Cliver Cordonez on June 29.

On January 8, 2023 Cliver's lawyer wrote it noting that Cliver only pled to providing aid to the FARC when he was a general. He asked for 72 months as a sentence.

On January 15, MLK Day, the US Attorney's Office wrote in asking for 360 months: 30 years.

On January 18, the sentencing was scheduled but did not happen. Rather, a fact-finding Fatico hearing was set: "Status Conference as to Cliver Antonio Alcala Cordones held on 1/18/2024. Sentencing began... Sentencing is adjourned; Fatico hearing is scheduled for 2/27/24- 2/28/24 at 10:00am."

 In the hall it was said Cliver must be disappointed that drugs are still in the case, at least at sentencing.

On March 11, after the Fatico hearing(s), Alcala filed again, specifically dissing the witness with the pseudonym Jorge Leon, saying he is a "well paid DEA informant ($45,000 to date, with a $3,000 monthly stipend since May 2023." Alcala also attacked the credibility of Antonio Arvelaiz, who also testified in SDNY against Carlos Orense. The defense says Orense was not a witness at the Fatico hearing; DOJ says that the FRE do not apply at Fatico hearings, where hearsay can be considered. The sentencing wasvpushed back again.

On April 4, Judge Hellerstein ruled that Alcala did help the FARC's narco trafficking. He wrote that "Arguments with respect to the above findings can be made at the inception of the sentencing hearing, previously scheduled for April 8, 2024 at 10 a.m. The following edits shall be made to the transcript at ECF No. 154: At 12:6, the transcript shall say "base level is 26." At 13:4, 13:9, and 13:25, references to criminal history "IV" shall be changed to "VI." SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on 4/4/2024)."

On April 8, Alcala spoke against Maduro, after which Judge Hellerstein sentenced him to 260 months. Thread here

On May 13, counsel for El Pollo Caravajal Barrios opposed the US Attorney's Office ex parte CIPA filings and bid for delay, asserting again the Speedy Trial Act. This comes after Judge Furman granted Inner City Press' application the CIPA transcripts be unsealed in US v. Schulte (although due to the US Attorney's Office mulling appealing, nothing has yet been unsealed).

On May 29, Pollo's counsel wrote in to say no 12(b)(4) motions despite saying the government may have illegally searched his residences and internet accounts in Venezuela. But, he noted, there will might be motions as discovery is ongoing.

More details on X for Subscribers here and Substack (with Spanish) here

The case is US v. Carvajal Barrios, et al., 11-cr-205 (Hellerstein)


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