THE former director of Venezuela’s military intelligence has been arrested in Madrid and faces extradition to the US on drug trafficking charges.
The Spanish High Court ruled today (Saturday) that Hugo Carvajal should remain in custody until a decision is reached on the extradition request.
Carvajal, a close ally of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, is accused by New York prosecutors of using his high office to coordinate the transport of around 5,600 kilos of cocaine to Mexico in 2006 and of helping the Columbian FARC rebel group by protecting shipments of large quantities of the drug to the US.
The ex-spy chief was arrested in the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2014 while serving as Venezuelan consul, but was released after the extradition request was denied.
He went back to Venezuela and became a member of the National Assembly. But he left the troubled Latin American country earlier this year when he became one of the most prominent officials to turn against President Nicolas Maduro’s regime.
In an online video he expressed his support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself Venezuela’s interim president in January.
Carvajal denies the drug trafficking charges and is set to fight the US extradition request.