Spanish court rules to extradite Venezuela spy chief to US

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Hugo Carvajal

FILE – In this Sept. 15, 2019 file photo, former Venezuelan military spy chief, retired Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal, walks out of prison in Estremera on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. A Spanish court on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ordered the extradition of a former Venezuelan spy chief to the United States where he is wanted on charges of drug trafficking and belonging to a terror organization. Retired Maj. Gen. Hugo 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. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court on Wednesday ordered the extradition of a former Venezuelan spy chief to the United States where he is wanted on charges of drug trafficking and belonging to a terror organization.

Retired Maj. Gen. Hugo 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 U.S. 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 Nicolás 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 U.S. Treasury Department, and helped fund the group’s activities by facilitating shipments of large amounts of U.S.-bound cocaine through Venezuela.

Spain’s National Court said police and Spain’s penitentiary services will be in charge of his transfer to the U.S. 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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