Dominican police raid mansion, yacht of Venezuelan president's kin, find 280lb of cocaine

Police in the Dominican Republic raided a mansion owned by one of the two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro facing charges for allegedly trying to traffic cocaine into the U.S.

Police found more than 280 pounds of cocaine and 22 pounds of heroin hidden inside the nephew’s posh Casa de Campo property and a 135-foot yacht named “The Kingdom” docked behind it.

The mansion belonged to Francisco Flores de Freites, 30, who was arrested along with Efraín Campos, 29, for allegedly conspiring to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. The two, nephews of Maduro’s wife, Cilia Flores, remain in federal lockup in New York. They were arrested in Haiti Tuesday night and transported to New York, where they are being held without bail.

The raid in the D.R. was first reported by CDN, a major news outlet in the country.

Dominican police found 176 pounds of drugs in the home and the rest in the yacht, which according to CDN had a helicopter pad. The boat had a Bahamas registration, CDN reported.

The ship captain, a Venezuelan national, was arrested during the raid. According to CDN, the man is now under full protection of the DEA and is cooperating with federal investigators.

The indictment unsealed Thursday in New York charges the pair with one count of narcotics conspiracy. It alleges the men participated in meetings in Venezuela regarding a plot to smuggle cocaine into the United States via Honduras, but provided few other details. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

With reporting by the Associated Press.

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