Venezuela's ex-spy chief fights extradition from Spain to US

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Venezuela's ex-spy chief fights extradition from Spain to US

Spanish police arrested a former general and close ally of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in Madrid on Friday on drug trafficking charges on an arrest warrant issued by the United States, a police spokeswoman said.

Carvajal left Venezuela a month ago, traveling by boat for 16 hours to reach the Dominican Republic before flying to Madrid, he told the court.

A court spokesman said Carvajal would appear before Spain's High Court on Saturday.

In an online video he expressed his support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself Venezuela's interim president in January.

The judge ruled that Carvajal should be kept in custody while a US extradition request for him is considered by a court.

As the former general explained to the court, he left Venezuela a month ago by boat and would fight the extradition request due to his ties with Spain, as his family now resides there. Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who for more than a decade advised the late leader Hugo Chvez, was celebrated by USA law enforcement officials who watched helplessly as the spymaster slipped from their grips five years ago when he was picked up in Aruba on the same NY indictment used to order Friday's arrest. That shipment was bound for the U.S., according to charges filed in a federal court in NY. In 2008, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Carvajal for "materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities" of Colombia's FARC rebel group.

He went back to Venezuela and became a member of the National Assembly. Guaido was later recognized by the United States and dozens of governments, but Maduro remains in office with support of the military and has denounced Guaido as a USA puppet.

Guaido was later recognised by the USA and dozens of governments, but Maduro remains in office with the support of the military and has denounced Guaido as a puppet of Washington.

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