MIAMI – A former Venezuelan judge who was arrested last year by U.S. authorities on the way to a Disney World vacation has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for his role in a major cocaine trafficking case linked to the government of former President Hugo Chavez.
Benny Palmeri-Bacchi pleaded guilty in November to charges of extortion, conspiracy to obstruct justice and money laundering conspiracy. The sentence was almost a year longer than recommended by U.S. prosecutors, which the judge said was necessary to reflect the seriousness of the crimes.
Prosecutors say Palmeri-Bacchi conspired with a former Venezuelan Interpol director, Rodolfo McTurk, to help traffickers move Colombian cocaine through Venezuela. McTurk, however, has remained in Venezuela.