(BBC) – The US has charged Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro, and other senior officials in the country with “narco-terrorism”.
A $15m (£12.5m) reward is being offered for information leading to Mr Maduro’s arrest.
The US move will further escalate tensions between the two nations.
Washington has long accused the Venezuelan president of leading a corrupt and brutal regime, a charge he has repeatedly rejected.
It backs the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president last year.
As well as Mr Maduro, the US charged more than a dozen top Venezuelan officials.
These included the country’s defence minister and the supreme court’s chief justice.
“The Venezuelan people deserve a transparent, responsible, representative government that serves the needs of the people – and that does not…. engage in illicit narcotics trafficking,” the US state department said.