Paraguay leader says uncle must face drug charges

ASUNCION , Paraguay (AP) — Paraguay’s new president wants the country’s anti-drug agency to treat his uncle like any other person wanted on trafficking charges, saying family ties won’t protect any of his relatives.

Before taking office as president Thursday, Horacio Cartes’ family became an issue on July 29, when uncle Juan Viveros Cartes was arrested in Uruguay for allegedly violating its airspace. Uruguayan officials allege the uncle was using a small plane to look for clandestine landing fields for drug smuggling.

Paraguayan authorities are now working to extradite the uncle back home, where he has been sought on drug-trafficking charges for years.

“For the president, kinship does not exist in this matter,” Luis Rojas, the head of Paraguay’s anti-drug agency, said Sunday. “He wants us to be relentless.”

The country’s president, a multimillionaire businessman, has faced accusations himself that his wealth was fed by drug trafficking. He has strongly denied the allegations, and no charges have ever been filed against him

Rojas said the president wants to make clear he will not go easy on purported drug traffickers, even if it is an uncle.

“He is informed about everything (in the case) and he wants us to treat him like any other” suspect, Rojas said.

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