Venezuela ex-intel chief wanted by US detained in Spain | Inquirer News

Venezuela ex-intel chief wanted by US detained in Spain

/ 07:09 AM September 10, 2021

Venezuela ex-intel chief wanted by US detained in Spain stock photo

MadridSpain Spanish police said on Thursday they had arrested Venezuela’s former military intelligence chief General Hugo Armando Carvajal who is wanted in the United States on drug charges.

Carvajal, who served as intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was detained on Thursday night in Madrid, Spain’s National Police said in a tweet.


“He lived totally cloistered, without going outside or looking out the window, and always protected by trusted people,” it added alongside a short video showing officers in protective gear arresting Carvajal.


Carvajal went missing just days after a Spanish court in November 2019 approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges.

Police had gone to his house in Madrid at the time to arrest him, but could not find him, and his lawyer said she did not know his whereabouts.

Known as “El Pollo” (the Chicken), Carvajal was stripped of his rank by the administration of President Nicolas Maduro after coming out in support of Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s acting president in February.

He then fled by boat to the Dominican Republic before relocating to Spain.

Carvajal has long been sought by US Treasury officials who suspect him of providing support to drug trafficking by the FARC guerrilla group in Colombia.

In an indictment filed in New York in 2011, Carvajal was accused of coordinating the transport of more than 5.6 tons of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006 that was ultimately destined for the US.


And the grand jury also accused Carvajal of providing “heavily-armed security to protect these drug shipments” en route to the US.

If convicted, Carvajal could face between 10 years and life in prison, the US Justice Department said following his April arrest.

Carvajal has denied any links to drug trafficking and the FARC, telling the New York Times in 2019 that he had been in touch with the guerrilla group only to negotiate for the release of a Venezuela businessman they had kidnapped.

He also told the newspaper that he had not been involved in drug trafficking but repeatedly reported suspicious cocaine shipments to top officials, who ignored them.

In September 2019, Spain’s National Court rejected a US extradition request on the grounds it was “vague” and “politically motivated,” and instead ordered Carvajal’s release from provisional detention where he had been held since his April 12 arrest in Madrid.

The ruling drew a protest from the US State Department, which said it hoped the judges would “reconsider” their decision.

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The court then reversed that decision in November after accepting an appeal from the public prosecutor’s office but Carvajal then went on the run.

TAGS: Drugs, El Pollo, Extradition, FARC, Spain, Venezuela

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