The former head of Venezuelan military intelligence has escaped Spanish authorities days after Madrid approved his extradition to the United States where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges.
Hugo Armando Carvajal was not at home when police officers went to look for him to comply with the order, issued last Friday, according to El País.
Earlier this month, Spain’s national court authorised Carvajal’s extradition to the United States after initially rejecting it partly on the grounds that the charges were ‘politically motivated’.
Carvajal’s lawyer told CNN on Tuesday that she had not been notified of the ruling or the arrest warrant against her client. She also said that she has not recently been in contact with Carvajal and does not know where he is.
In 2011 Carvajal was charged with drug trafficking by the New York prosecutor’s office for allegedly coordinating the transport of more than 5.6 tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006 that was ultimately destined for the US, reports the Guardian. According to US Justice, Carvajal intended to “flood” the United States with the drug, allegedly with the help of the defunct Colombian rebel group FARC, all under the direction of the “Presidency of the Republic of Venezuela.”
Carvajal, who served as Hugo Chavez’s military intelligence chief and was appointed as Venezuela’s consul to Aruba by Nicolas Maduro in 2014, broke with the government earlier this year and pledged his support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself president of Venezuela in January. He was expelled from the armed forces in April and accused of treason, prompting his escape, initially to the Dominican Republic and then on to Spain, which he entered under a false identity.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Washington organised by the Venezuelan-American Alliance the US envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, called Carvajal’s disappearance in Spain “shameful” and “embarrassing” for the Spanish government.
Originally published on The Scandal.net