Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief jailed in Spain pending decision on US extradition

Law enforcement van believed to be carrying former head of Venezuelan military intelligence, Carvaj A Civil Guard van believed to be carrying the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence, Hugo Carvajal arrives outside the high court, in Madrid, Spain April 13, 2019. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

MADRID: Hugo Carvajal, a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief who Washington believes has valuable information on President Nicolas Maduro, was jailed on Saturday(Apr 13)  by Spain’s High Court pending a decision on an extradition request to the United States, a court spokesman said.

A former general and close ally of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Carvajal was arrested by Spanish police on Friday on a US warrant for drug trafficking charges.

During the hearing, Carvajal denied links with drug trafficking and Colombia’s FARC rebel group and challenged his potential extradition to the United States, the spokesman said.

The United States must now formalise its extradition request, which will be ruled upon by the High Court.

The US Justice Department said on Friday it had requested Carvajal’s extradition on cocaine smuggling charges filed in 2011 and unsealed in 2014.

Carvajal was previously sanctioned by the US government in 2008 for “materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities” of Colombia’s FARC rebel group.

A US administration official told Reuters on Friday that Carvajal has valuable information on Maduro and is willing to cooperate.