MADRID (Reuters) – Hugo Carvajal, a former Venezuelan military information manager, who Washington believes has valuable information about President Nicolas Maduro, was imprisoned on Saturday by Spain's Supreme Court pending a ruling on a US extradition request, a court spokesman said.
A civilian carriage considered to carry the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence comes Hugo Carvajal outside the Supreme Court of Madrid, Spain on April 13, 2019. REUTERS / Javier Barbancho
A former general and closely related Former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Carvajal, was arrested by the Spanish police on Friday on a US arrest warrant for drug smuggling.
After Carvajals, the United States arrested on Friday its possible cooperation as a potential blessing in the fight against Maduro, which still retains control of most of Venezuela's armed forces and state institutions.
At the hearing, Carvajal denied drug trafficking and the Colombian FARC rebel group and challenged his potential extradition to the United States, the spokesman said.
Carvajal will fight the US extradition request because of ties in Spain, where his family currently resides after traveling here for him.
Carvajal left Venezuela a month ago and traveled by boat for 16 hours to get to the Dominican Republic before flying to Madrid, he told the court.
The United States now has to formalize its extradition request, which will be settled by the High Court.
On Friday, the US Attorney General said it had requested Carvajal's extradition of cocaine smuggling fees filed in 2011 and unsealed in 2014.
Carvajal was previously sanctioned by the US government in 2008 for "significantly helping drug trafficking" Colombia's FARC rebel group.
An American administration manager told Reuters on Friday that Carvajal has valuable information about Maduro and is willing to cooperate.
Carvajal condemned Chavez's successor Maduro in February and supported Juan Guaido, who in January declared Venezuela's temporary leader.
Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez and Sam Edwards, Editing Jane Merriman and Angus MacSwan