Ex-Venezuelan Intel Chief Jailed by Spanish Court Pending Extradition to US

Venezuela's ex-spy chief fights extradition from Spain to US

Venezuela's ex-spy chief fights extradition from Spain to US

Former Venezuelan general Hugo Carvajal, head of military intelligence under Hugo Chavez, was held in temporary detention Saturday while Spain waits for a formal United States extradition request on charges of cocaine trafficking, judicial sources said.

Hugo Carvajal was jailed on Saturday by Spain's High Court pending a decision on an extradition request from the United States.

The judge ruled that Carvajal should be kept in custody while a USA extradition request for him is considered by a court.

Carvajal told the court he left Venezuela a month ago, travelling by boat for 16 hours to reach the Dominican Republic before flying to Madrid.

He made headlines recently by voicing support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

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

"No matter the rank or level of influence of an individual, we will continue to pursue and prosecute those who bring deadly drugs into this country in a US court of law", said prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY.

Following Carvajal's arrest, the United States hailed on Friday his possible collaboration as a potential boon in the fight against Maduro, who still retains control of the bulk of Venezuela's armed forces and state institutions.

While Spanish police did not fully disclose the charges brought against the general, in 2008 he was sanctioned by the US Treasury for "materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities" of Colombia's FARC rebel group.

Maduro then ousted Carvajal and the former military man was accused of "acts of treason".

In February, Carvajal, who was also a member of Venezuela's Congress, became one of the most prominent politicians to turn against Maduro.

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