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Friday, November 26, 2021

Spanish court agreed to extradite former head of Venezuela spy to US

MADRID. On Wednesday, Spain’s highest criminal court agreed to extradite former Venezuelan intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal to the United States, where he was charged with drug trafficking, the court said in a statement.

The decision of the National Court came after Mr. Carvajal was denied asylum in Spain. The court official said he could not appeal the extradition order and could be sent to the United States at any time.

The decision came just four days after the extradition to the United States of a key ally of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman known as Mr. Maduro’s financial assistant, was arrested in Cape Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, on charges of money laundering by the Americans.

Mr. Carvajal was arrested in Madrid in September for the second time in less than three years. At the time, police said he was living “completely closed” in an undisclosed location in Madrid, relying on the help of unidentified allies.

Mr. Carvajal was a prominent figure in Mr. Maduro’s government before breaking up with him dramatically. In February 2019, he posted a video in which Mr. Maduro is accused of a corrupt dictatorship whose top officials were involved in drug trafficking.

He fled to Spain, where he was detained at the US extradition request in April 2019. But then he was released from a Spanish prison after the court found the extradition request too “abstract” to establish his involvement in drug trafficking.

Prosecutors successfully appealed the decision, but Mr Carvajal went missing, creating a diplomatic headache for Spain and adding another twist to the long game of cat and mouse.

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In an interview with The New York Times in February 2019, Mr. Carvajal denied his involvement in drug trafficking. Following his arrest in Spain and during the extradition hearing, he and his lawyers stated that the drug charges were fabricated and that the case brought by the United States was politically motivated.

The US Department of Justice said that in April 2006, Mr. Carvajal coordinated the shipment of about six tons of US cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in accordance with charges filed in a federal court in New York. If found guilty, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum life sentence.

Known by the nickname “El Pollo” or “Chicken”, Mr. Carvajal served for several years as chief of military intelligence under Hugo Chavez, the former leader of Venezuela, and under Mr. Maduro. He was later a member of the ruling Socialist Party before suddenly falling out with Mr. Maduro, Mr. Chavez’s successor.

Mr. Carvajal called on the military to side with the main enemy, Mr. Maduro Juan Guaido. Mr. Guaido has been recognized as the legitimate president of Venezuela by the United States and a number of other Western governments, but that has not stopped Mr. Maduro from holding on to power, even as his country’s economic problems have escalated sharply in recent years.

Spain has become one of the main havens for members of the Venezuelan opposition and deserted members of the Socialist Party who escaped political and economic turmoil.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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