Ex-Venezuelan intel chief extradited from Spain to US

ex venezuelan intel chief extradited from spain to us

Venezuela’s former intelligence chief was extradited Wednesday from Spain to the United States where he will face charges of drug trafficking.

General Hugo Armando Carvajal, who served as intelligence chief under the former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, has long been sought by US officials who suspect him of providing support to drug trafficking by the FARC guerrilla group in Colombia.

Prosecutors in New York allege he used his high office to coordinate the smuggling of approximately 5,600 kilogrammes (12,345 pounds) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006 that was destined for the US.

Known by the nickname “El Pollo” — “The Chicken” — the 63-year-old is also suspected of potentially having incriminating evidence against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, successor of the late Chavez and a major US adversary.

Carvajal will appear in a Manhattan federal court before a magistrate judge on Thursday, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement.

“After many years as a fugitive following a more than decade-long criminal career, Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios arrived in the United States today to face justice for his alleged crimes,” said Damian Williams.

“As alleged, (he) exploited his authority as the director of Venezuela’s military intelligence agency to corrupt Venezuelan institutions, abuse the Venezuelan people, and to import poison to the United States.”

Carvajal’s lawyer, Maria Dolores de Arguelles, and judicial sources earlier confirmed to AFP that Carvajal had left Spain bound for the US.

The move comes after the European Court of Human Rights last week rejected Carvajal’s appeal against his extradition, arguing it was not proven he faces a “real risk” of being sentenced to life imprisonment without chance of parole in the United States.

That prompted Spain’s National Court, which is charged with extradition, to order Interpol on Tuesday to “immediately deliver” Carvajal to US authorities.

Carvajal has repeatedly denied links to drug traffickers or the FARC.

He was stripped of his rank by Maduro’s administration after coming out in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s acting president in February 2019.

Carvajal then left Venezuela and was first arrested in Spain in April 2019 but a court later that year ordered his release, arguing the US extradition request was “politically motivated.”

The court later reversed that decision but Carvajal then went on the run.

When he was arrested again in Madrid in September 2021, police said he had remained in Spain the whole time, changing residences frequently and getting plastic surgery to avoid being caught.


Authored by Afp via Breitbart July 19th 2023