On March 17, 2021, the US Department of Justice announced that 52-year old Victor Mones Coro of Florida had been sentenced to 55 months in prison for his participation in a scheme to provide millions of dollars in private charter flights to two members of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle, in violation of US sanctions imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. As part of the sentence, Coro must also pay $250,000 in fines and will receive two years of supervised release.
According to court documents, Coro devised a scheme that utilized planes and employees of his US-based company American Charter Services (ACS) to provide flights to former Venezuelan Vice President Tareck Zaidan El Aissami, and his front man, Samark Jose Lopez Bello, as well as other high-ranking officials in the Maduro regime. Coro allegedly flew El Aissami, Bello and others to locations around the world including countries of strategic importance to Maduro such as Russia and Turkey, while transporting other items such as food and campaign materials for Maduro’s May 2018 reelection campaign. The DOJ reports that Coro and ACS arranged between 20 and 25 domestic Venezuelan flights over the four months preceding the May 2018 election.
According to the DOJ, Coro and his co-conspirators, including Venezuela’s current Superintendent of Cryptocurrencies Joselit Ramírez Camacho, attempted to avoid detection by using code names, encrypted messaging applications, and falsified flight manifests and invoices. Coro also allegedly received payments in the form of cash that was flown into the US from Venezuela and via wire transfers from a front company connected to sanctioned Venezuelan leaders.
El Aissami, Bello and Camacho have also been charged with US sanctions violations in a separate superseding indictment for their roles in the scheme.