The former military intelligence chief of Venezuela has gone missing in Spain days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the US on drug trafficking charges.
Judicial sources said police had gone to Gen Hugo Armando Carvajal’s house in Madrid after the court ruling but could not find him. “They are currently looking for him,” said a spokeswoman for Spain’s national police.
His release followed five months in provisional detention after he was arrested in Madrid in April. The court reversed the decision on Friday after accepting an appeal from the public prosecutor’s office. Full details of the ruling have not yet been made public.
Carvajal’s lawyer, María Dolores de Arguelles, told AFP she had not been informed they were going to rearrest him, adding she did not know his whereabouts. She said she had also not received the full transcript of the decision, which court sources said would be released in the coming days.
Known as “El Pollo” (the Chicken), Carvajal was stripped of his rank by the administration of Nicolás Maduro after coming out in support of Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s acting president in February. He fled by boat to the Dominican Republic before relocating to Spain.
Carvajal has long been sought by US Treasury officials who suspect him of supporting drug trafficking by the Farc guerrilla group in Colombia, which demobilised in 2016.
In an indictment filed in New York in 2011, Carvajal was accused of coordinating the transport of more than 5.6 tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006 that was ultimately destined for the US.
If convicted, Carvajal could face between 10 years and life in prison, the US Department of Justice said in April after his arrest.
Carvajal has denied any “links to drug trafficking and the Farc”, Spanish judicial sources said at the time.
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