The Spanish National Police have announced the arrest of General Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, the former Venezuelan spymaster, wanted by the United States on narcoterrorism charges.
In a police statement, released following his arrest earlier this week, the Spanish authorities confirmed that Hugo Chavez´s former spy chief, had been detained at his Madrid apartment, where he is believed to have been living for nearly two years since he disappeared following an extradition order by a Spanish court to the US.
According to the press release, he “lived totally enclosed, never going outside or getting close to the window, always protected by people he trusted.”
The 61 year-old Carvajal’s faces extradition to the U.S., where he faces federal charges for allegedly working with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to “flood” the U.S. with cocaine.
Carvajal was nicknamed “El Pollo” (“The Chicken”), has long been sought by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA) who issued a $10 million reward for his arrest in 2011.
DEA agents were involved in the operation and will accompany Carvajal should the Madrid court agree the US extradition request.
“I’m prepared for either situation, the good or the bad,” Carvajal’s wife, Angélica Flores, is reported to have told The Associated Press.
The United States Attorney´s Office of New York issued a statement announcing the 4 main charges against him being:
(1) participating in a narco-terrorism conspiracy, which carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life
(2) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life
(3) using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine importation conspiracies, which carries a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life
(4) conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and to possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine importation conspiracies, which carries a maximum sentence of life.
Carvajal was first indicted in 2011, and narrowly escaped extradition when he was arrested, then released in the Dutch island of Aruba in 2014 island.
However he is not believed to have been close to Chavez´s successor, Nicolás Maduro, and he may be able to demonstrate that he has been an opponent fighting the regime from his Spanish base.
The formal extradition proceedings will be heard in Madrid in the coming weeks.