Saturday, February 4, 2023

Spanish court agrees to extradite Venezuela’s ex-spy chief to US

Spain’s High Court has ordered the extradition of former Venezuelan spy chief Hugo Carvajal to the United States. He is facing drug trafficking charges but denies the allegations.

A Spanish court on Wednesday ordered the extradition of the retired Maj. Gen. to the United States where he is wanted on charges of drug trafficking and belonging to a terror organization.

Carvajal, who for more than a decade advised the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez before breaking with his successor, had been resisting extradition since he was arrested in Spain in April 2019.

Carvajal had avoided extradition to the US when he was picked up in Aruba in 2014 on the same New York indictment that Spanish authorities acted on. He returned to Venezuela after slipping the grasp of authorities and was received as a hero.

But he eventually broke with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, throwing his support behind the opposition to Maduro’s Socialist regime. He then left Venezuela for good.

Prosecutors in New York allege that Carvajal used his high office to coordinate the smuggling of approximately 5,600 kilograms of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006.

Carvajal also allegedly provided weapons to armed FARC guerrillas in Colombia, according to the US Treasury Department, and helped fund the group’s activities by facilitating shipments of large amounts of US bound cocaine through Venezuela.

Spain’s National Court said police and Spain’s penitentiary services will be in charge of his transfer to the US. No date was given.

Last week the National Court ordered the extradition of Chávez’s former nurse, who is charged in Miami with money laundering.

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