The Department of Justice of the United States announced today that it "plans to request in extradition" to Spain the exjefe of the Venezuelan military counterintelligence Hugo Carvajal, who is accused by Washington of drug trafficking.
Carvajal, who was a confidant of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) and who recently showed his support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, was arrested today in Madrid by Spanish police at the request of the United States.
The federal district attorney's office in the southern district of New York, which according to a statement "plans to request extradition" from Carvajal, accuses him of being part of a drug trafficking network dedicated to sending cocaine to the United States, including a shipment of 5, 6 tons in 2006.
If he is finally extradited and tried, Carvajal faces a penalty of 10 years in prison and life imprisonment.
If he accepted the extradition, the Venezuelan military officer would be sent immediately to the United States, but if he rejected it, a legal procedure would be initiated in the Spanish National Court, which would last for several months.
His arrest comes after the trip to Spain last week by the special envoy of the United States for Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, one of the ideologists of Washington's strategy to overthrow Maduro.
Carvajal, nicknamed the "Chicken", was responsible for the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (Dgcim) from 2004 to 2011 and later was an official deputy.
However, after opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president of Venezuela in January, Carvajal broke his allegiance to the Nicolás Maduro government and urged the rest of the military to do the same.
"Here is one more soldier for the causes of freedom and democracy to be useful in achieving the objectives of restoring constitutional order that allow us to call for free elections," said Carvajal in a video directed to Guaidó.
A day after expressing this support for Guaidó, the "number two" of Chavism, Diosdado Cabello, accused Carvajal of having negotiated with Washington to have the accusations linked to drug trafficking forgiven.