A former Green Beret who has claimed responsibility for an ill-fated military incursion into Venezuela is under federal investigation for arms trafficking, according to current and former U.S. law enforcement officials.
The investigation into Jordan Goudreau is in its initial stages and it’s unclear if it will result in charges, according to a U.S. law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The probe stems from a frenzy of contradictory comments Goudreau has made since a small cadre of volunteer combatants he was advising on Sunday launched an impossible raid aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
Members of the U.S. Congress are also asking the State Department about its knowledge of Goudreau’s plans and raised concerns that he possibly violated arms trafficking rules.
An AP investigation published prior to the failed raid places Goudreau at the center of a plot hatched with a rebellious former Venezuelan Army Gen., Cliver Alcalá, to secretly train dozens of Venezuelan military deserters in secret camps in Colombia to carry out a swift operation against Maduro. The U.S. has offered a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro’s arrest or conviction. He was indicted by the Trump administration in March on narcoterrorist charges.
The men were being readied for combat at three rudimentary camps in Colombia with the help of Goudreau and his Florida-based company, Silvercorp USA, multiple Maduro opponents and aspiring freedom fighters told the AP. But the plot seemed doomed from the start because it lacked the support of the Trump administration and was infiltrated by Maduro’s vast, Cuban-trained intelligence network, the AP found.
The law enforcement official said Goudreau’s comments suggests his work on behalf of the volunteer army may have violated laws that require any U.S. company supplying weapons or military equipment, as well as military training and advice, to foreign persons to seek State Department approval.
“Goudreau’s public comments alone show he was exporting his lethal expertise into a foreign country,” said Sean McFate, a former U.S. Army paratrooper who worked as a private military contractor and is the author of a book, “The New Rules of War,” on the foreign policy implications of privatized warfare. “This is a serious violation.”