MADRID, July 18 (Reuters) – Spain’s High Court on Tuesday ordered that global police agency Interpol immediately extradite a former director of Venezuelan military intelligence to the United States, where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges, from Spain.
The decision comes after the European Court of Human Rights last week denied an effort by Hugo Carvajal – who was late President Hugo Chavez’s eyes and ears within Venezuela’s military for more than a decade – to avoid extradition that had earlier been authorised by Spain.
In a statement, the court said the U.S. Embassy and the prison where Carvajal is being kept, in Estremera, outside of the capital Madrid, would be informed of its decision.
“Since the precautionary measure granted by the European Court of Human Rights has been lifted, the Third Section (of the High Court) urges Interpol to hand over the defendant” to U.S. authorities, in line with the original ruling from 2019, it said.
Interpol had no immediate comment.
The United States in 2020 accused Carvajal of drug trafficking, along with more than a dozen other high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including President Nicolas Maduro.
Carvajal has been in Spanish custody since he was arrested in September 2021 in Madrid. He has denied supporting cocaine trafficking to the United States.
Carvajal’s U.S.-based lawyer had no immediate comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, which is bringing the case against Carvajal, declined to comment.
Reporting by Emma Pinedo, additional reporting by Inti Landauro in Madrid, Luc Cohen in New York, editing by Andrei Khalip, William Maclean