Former Venezuelan spy chief loses extradition battle in Spain to face drug trafficking charges in United States

THE NATIONAL COURT in Madrid has ordered the immediate extradition of a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief to to the United States, where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges.

Tuesday’s ruling came after the European Court of Human Rights last week denied an request by Hugo Carvajal to avoid extradition that had first been authorised by Spanish authorities in 2021.

“Since the precautionary measure granted by the European Court of Human Rights has been lifted, the Third Section of the National Court urges Interpol to hand over the defendant to US authorities, in line with the original 2019 ruling,” the court said in a statement.

Carvajal was head of Venezuela’s military intelligence during the presidency of the late Hugo Chavez.

A 2011 New York court indictment accuses him of working with Colombian guerrillas to import 5.6 million tons of cocaine to the United States.

He is also accused of providing ‘heavily-armed security to protect these drug shipments’ on the way to the US.

If convicted, he could face between ten years behind bars to life imprisonment.

Political changes forced him to flee Venezuela in early 2019 and he ended up in Spain with the National Court backing a US extradition order in September that year.

Carvajal went on the run and was arrested in a Madrid flat in September 2021 by the Policia Nacional.

They said at the time in a statement: “He lived totally enclosed, never going outside or getting close to the window, always protected by people he trusted.”

He then resorted to using European courts to see if he could get the extradition order overturned.


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