Former Venezuelan spymaster arrested by Madrid police on US drugs charges

Police in Madrid have arrested a former Venezuelan spymaster on US narcotics charges nearly two years after he defied a Spanish extradition order and disappeared.

Gen Hugo Carvajal, who for over a decade was Hugo Chávez’s eyes and ears in the military, was arrested on Thursday night at a small apartment where he had been holed up.

“He lived totally enclosed, never going outside or getting close to the window, always protected by people he trusted,” Spain’s police said in a statement on social media in which they posted a short video capturing the moment heavily armed officers put handcuffs on Carvajal.

In 2019, Spain’s high court approved Carvajal’s extradition to the US, where he faces federal narcotics charges in New York and Florida over alleged ties with Colombian rebels known to control valuable cocaine smuggling routes.

The decision followed an earlier ruling by a high court magistrate throwing out the US arrest warrant for being politically motivated. In the interim, Carvajal was released and never heard from again, except for a brief statement on social media last year where he said he went underground to protest against what he saw as political interference in his case.

Carvajal has previously denied any wrongdoing.

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