| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Venezuelan ex-spymaster to be held in Spanish jail pending transfer to U.S.

Former Venezuelan military intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal, who was arrested on Thursday in Madrid after hiding for almost two years, will be held in prison pending extradition to the United States, Spain’s High Court said on Friday.

U.S. investigators have charged Carvajal, a former general and ally of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, with narco-terrorism and drug trafficking, accusing him and others including President Nicolas Maduro of running a cocaine cartel. He and Maduro have both rejected the accusations.

After the High Court approved Carvajal’s extradition in late 2019, he went into hiding.

On Thursday, Spanish police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration tracked him down to a house in the outskirts of Madrid and broke down an armour-plated door to find him inside.

Nicknamed “El Pollo” (The Chicken), Carvajal had been switching his hiding place every three months and living a life of total isolation, not going outside or even looking out of the window, according to police.

He had undergone several operations to modify his appearance and police said they had found fake moustaches, beards and wigs at the house.

Carvajal’s lawyer in Spain, Maria Dolores de Arguelles, said Carvajal had filed a request for asylum in Spain, which could delay his extradition.

Neither the Spanish Justice Ministry nor the U.S. embassy in Madrid responded immediately to requests for comment.

  • Reuters