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Narco, Terror, and Politics in Southwestern Europe (3/10)

1st. arrest of Hugo Carvajal in Madrid

Narco, Terror, and Politics in Southwestern Europe (3/10)
Hugo Carvajal with part of his family as he was released from a Spanish prison after pretrial detention, September 16th, 2019
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First arrest of Hugo ‘El Pollo‘ Carvajal in Madrid, Spain

The first arrest of Carvajal in Madrid was favorably resolved for him, although in a bizarre and extraordinary way.

On April 1st, 2019, two weeks after his arrival to Madrid, ‘El Pollo’ happily celebrated his birthday in Madrid in the company of his family.

Hugo Carvajal had been married to Gladys Segovia, whom he had three children with, and now is married to Angélica Flores, with whom he has five other children.

Only eleven days after his anniversary, on April 12th, Carvajal was arrested in Madrid.

The day before his arrest, United States (US) Special Ambassador for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, had visited the capital of Spain.

Not without debate, the Spanish judges decided to extradite him to the US.

A few days after having been detained, Carvajal was put in front of a judge at the National Court of Spain, who ruled in favour of his provisional detention, pending the resolution over an outstanding US extradition request.

At the time of his discreet landing in Madrid in March 2019, Carvajal was already under the accusation by the US Justice of serious charges, for which his handover to the authorities was claimed by the US, including conspiracy for narcoterrorism, conspiracy to import cocaine, possession of weapons and conspiracy with others to possess them.

Within US security circles, the hope was that Carvajal would cooperate with the US Justice and make available all the information that he always brags to possess about the close links that were forged over the last years between Nicolás Maduro’s regime and international terrorism, either Hezbollah’s international jihadists, or Colombian National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) operatives.

To the surprise of many, in September 2019, when the first hearing before the National Court of Spain was held to resolve the US extradition request, the Spanish judges refused to hand Carvajal over.

Four judges of the National Court’s corresponding Chamber denied Carvajal’s extradition to the US because they argued that there was not enough evidence in the accusations made against him -drug and arms trafficking- and pointed out that this request was contaminated by political reasons.

In November 2019, after the Prosecutor’s Office had presented the subsequent appeal to that first decision, the plenary of the Chamber ruled to approve Carvajal’s deportation with eleven judges in favour and seven judges opposing that decision.

Despite the reasoning of those seven judges against accepting the request of the US Justice on the basis that the extradition demand was based on insufficient evidence to sustain that Carvajal had indeed committed the criminal acts he was accused of and that the whole case was politically motivated, hence lacking solid legal arguments, the opinion of majority of the judges prevailed at the end.

In approving the handing over of Carvajal to the US, the Spanish Court was unequivocal in its resolution that there were no doubts about the participation of General Carvajal in the Cártel de los Soles criminal syndicate.

Likewise, the Spanish Court pronounced that the leaders of this Cártel, including Venezuela’s top political leaders, were responsible of enriching themselves with the drug trafficking activities.

Additionally, the Court stated out that there is a clear and close relationship between the Venezuelan government and FARC, its suppliers of cocaine, and to whom logistical support and protection is provided by Caracas political elite for the transfer of drugs within Venezuela, within Colombia, between both countries, and from these two to the US.

Lastly, the Spanish judges spelled out that all the above is being carried out, and this is the US’ utmost concern about this affair, by “weaponizing” drug trafficking operations with the aim to weaken American society.

However, despite that decision, Carvajal could not be handed over to the US in 2019.

Once the Spanish Judges had authorized his extradition, Carvajal, who was no longer in pretrial detention, was to be notified of this highly confidential verdict a few days later.

When judicial agents finally showed up at Carvajal’s family home in Madrid to inform him of the Spanish Court resolution and, therefore, to keep him apprehended until he was handed over to the representatives that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had sent to Madrid for that purpose, they found out that Carvajal had vanished.

Carvajal remained missing for the following two years, in unknown whereabouts and subjected to search and capture notification by the US.

At that time, numerous rumours, or intoxications, depending on the source, pointed to Carvajal being already in the US negotiating with American judicial authorities the terms and conditions of his sentence in exchange for the information he was willing to share to relieve them.

Alternatively, information was disseminated that he was kept within a safe house in the Spanish side of the Pyrenees Mountains, protected by Spanish National Intelligence (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, CNI) agents, surrounded at a reasonable distance by a security circle of US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives, who allegedly were attentively watching upon Carvajal’s every move*.


* “Hugo Carvajal, el general chavista que sabe demasiado”, El Imparcial, April 21, 2019; “El periplo español de ‘Pollo Carvajal’, el general chavista más buscado por EE. UU.”, El Independiente, September 11, 2021; and “Álvaro Nieto: «De Plus Ultra y del Delcygate solo hemos visto la punta del iceberg»”, The Objective, February 2, 2022.

NB: All information and data about the facts and people in this article were taken from open and public sources, which are cited here. Any errors they may have made are not attributable to the author of this article, but to those of the publications from which they were taken. This series of articles was completed on July 29, 2022.


EconomíaEspañaMundoOtros temasUnión EuropeaYihadismo


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