- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - Sentencing has been postponed for a former Venezuelan judge in a U.S. cocaine trafficking case linked to the government of former President Hugo Chavez.

A sentencing hearing was moved from Friday until Monday for Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, who pleaded guilty in November to charges of extortion, conspiracy to obstruct justice and money laundering conspiracy. Each charge carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors say Palmeri-Bacchi conspired with a former Venezuelan Interpol director to help traffickers move Colombian cocaine through Venezuela. The Interpol director and a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief were also indicted but remain in Venezuela.

Among the traffickers Palmeri-Bacchi admitted protecting was Jaime Alberto “Beto” Marin-Zamora, a top member of Colombia’s North Valley Cartel. Marin-Zamora was extradited to the U.S. in 2010 and is serving a 16-year prison sentence.

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