The United States has charged Tareck El Aissami, one of the most powerful men in Venezuela, and five of his collaborators for violating sanctions imposed in 2017 for alleged drug trafficking imposed, showing Washington is piling on the pressure against Caracas' highest-ranking officials.
Cartel of the Suns Profile
The term "Cartel of the Suns" (Cartel de los Soles) is used to describe shadowy groups inside Venezuela's military that traffic cocaine. It is in some ways a misleading term, as it creates the impression that there is a hierarchical group, made up primarily of military officials, that sets the price of cocaine inside the country. There are cells within the main branches of the military -- the army, navy, air force, and National Guard, from the lowest to the highest levels -- that essentially function as drug trafficking organizations. However, describing them as a "cartel" in the traditional sense would be a leap. It is not clear how the relationship between these cells works, although rivalries between them have apparently turned deadly in the past.