CITGO 6 found him guilty and convicted in Venezuela


According to the source, employees Tomeu Vadell, Gustavo Cardenas, Jorge Toledo, Alirio Jose Zambrano, Jose Luis Zambrano and Jose Angel Pereira were sentenced to between 8 and 13 years, the source said.

According to sources, despite the verdict, they will continue to release the men.

The convictions interrupt his one-year stint, which began in November 2017, when the men received a call from the head of the Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA, who invited them to Caracas for a last-minute budget meeting.

Upon their arrival, armed and masked security agents arrested them on embezzlement charges, never implementing a proposal to refinance some $ 4 billion in CITGO bonds by offering a 50% stake in the company.

Families of “CITGO 6,” including five U.S. citizens with deep roots in Texas and Louisiana, say the men are being held in inhumane conditions, shared in overcrowded basement cells in a military evacuation prison, and suffering from severe food shortages in a food-poor country.

But the case was largely ignored as Venezuela continued to turmoil and relations between him and the United States were torn apart by strong support from the Trump administration in the fight to oust Nicolas Maduro against opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

Two of the men – Cardenas and Toledo – were released under house arrest in July after former New Mexican governor Bill Richardson and a non-governmental negotiating team made a humanitarian visit to Caracas.

The men began weekly trials in August after more than two years in custody.

Alirio Jose’s daughter, Jose Luis ’niece, Gabriela Zambrano Hill called the auditions a“ wolf ”and expressed concern about the men’s possible exposure to Covid-19.

Carlos Añez, Toledo’s stepson, told CNN that he hoped the hearing would “make a favorable and correct decision” in the end.

In a statement earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for their “unconditional release” and return to the United States.

“These six Americans and their families have suffered for quite some time. It’s time for Maduro to put politics aside and let these families reunite,” he said.

“No one should question the president ‘s commitment to repatriating American citizens who have been taken hostage or illegally detained overseas.

“Roger Carstens, Special Representative for Hostages in Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, and we will continue our mission to secure the release of CITGO-6 and will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” Pompeo said.

We updated this story with more information on Thursday.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.