In­for­mants traf­ficked drugs while on pay­roll

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

In­for­mants with dirty pasts are a fix­ture at drug tri­als, but even by those stan­dards, the father-son team that played a cen­tral role in the co­caine traf­fick­ing pros­e­cu­tion of the neph­ews of Venezuela’s first lady stands out.

Over sev­eral years, the U.S. government and other law en­force­ment agen­cies paid about $1 mil­lion to Jose San­tos-Pena, 55, and hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars more to his son, Jose San­tos-Her­nan­dez, 34, for in­for­ma­tion about drug deal­ers.

The pair trav­eled to mul­ti­ple coun­tries, in­clud­ing some where Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion agents aren’t welcome, to make se­cret record­ings. Then, in April, pros­e­cu­tors learned that while work­ing for the DEA, San­tos-Pena and San­tos-Her­nan­dez were also hard at work smug­gling drugs them­selves. In late sum­mer, just as the case against Flores’ neph­ews was get­ting ready to go to trial in New York, San­tos-Pena and San­tos-Her­nan­dez pleaded guilty.

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