Tuesday January 18, 2022

Spain can extradite Venezuela ex-intel chief to US: court

December 04, 2021

MADRID: A Spanish court on Friday gave final approval to the extradition of Venezuela’s former intelligence chief to the United States, where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges.

The National Audience, the court in charge of extraditions, ruled that there was "no remaining obstacle or procedure that could block the handing over" of Carvajal to the US authorities, a court spokesman told AFP.

General Hugo Armando Carvajal, who served as intelligence chief under the former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was arrested in September in Madrid after nearly two years on the run.

Carvajal, 61, has long been sought by US Treasury 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 as "El Pollo", or "The Chicken", Carvajal is also suspected of potentially having incriminating evidence against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s successor and a major adversary of the US.

Carvajal has repeatedly denied links to drug traffickers or the FARC. The final ruling on extradition followed a decision by the same court in October to suspend the measure until an error in a previous court order was corrected.

There was no word on Friday on when he would be extradited. Carvajal 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.