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Former Venezuelan Intelligence Chief Arrested in Spain

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Former Venezuelan military intelligence chief has been arrested in Spain. Hugo Carvajal, 61, is suspected of drug smuggling by US authorities. He had been on the run since 2019.


The arrest, a collaboration between Spanish and American police, took place in an apartment in Madrid. The Spanish police report that the Venezuelan never went outside and was protected by confidants. He would never have shown himself at a window.

Carvajal was an ally of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013. He was the head of military intelligence for more than ten years, and during that time, he is said to have collaborated with Colombian FARC rebels in drug smuggling to the US. Carvajal denies those accusations. His lawyer previously said the extradition request was politically motivated.

Spanish police first arrested the ex-intelligence chief two years ago over a warrant for his arrest issued by the US. A court at the time did not agree with the extradition requested by the Americans, after which Carvajal was released. He was missing when a higher court permitted the extradition.

Carvajal was also arrested in 2014 at the American request in Aruba, where he was the consul general of Venezuela. He was released because he would enjoy diplomatic immunity. Shortly after, he returned to Venezuela.

In 2019, he left for Spain with false papers after causing a stir. He expressed support for self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó and blamed President Nicolás Maduro for the crisis in the country.

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