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Navy warship's secret mission off West Africa aims to help punish Venezuela


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WASHINGTON — For the past month, the Navy cruiser San Jacinto had sailed off the West African island nation of Cape Verde on a secret mission aimed at helping deal a major blow to President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, an avowed adversary of the Trump administration.

The mission was set in motion in early June, when Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman who is widely believed to be the architect of the economic deals that are keeping the Maduro government afloat, was arrested in Cape Verde when his private plane stopped to refuel en route to Iran from Venezuela. The United States sought his extradition under U.S. money laundering charges, and judicial proceedings began.

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