Hugo Carvajal, a former Venezuelan spy chief wanted on U.S. drug trafficking charges, was arrested in Madrid, Spain on Thursday.

Spanish authorities said police arrested Venezuela's former head of military intelligence in a small apartment where he had been holed up.

Former Venezuelan Spy Chief Arrested in Spain

According to Deutsche Welle, the former Venezuelan spy chief is wanted in the U.S. on charges of drug trafficking. Hugo Armando Carvajal has been on the run since November 2019, after a court in Spain approved an extradition request from the US.

"Arrested tonight in Madrid 'Pollo Carvajal'," the Spanish police said in its Twitter account. The tweet included a video of police officers putting handcuffs on Hugo Carvajal.

The Spanish police said the former Venezuelan spy chief "lived totally cloistered, without going outside or looking out the window, and always protected by trusted people."

It's still unclear whether Hugo Carvajal would be sent to the U.S. for his extradition in the past, but it may be slowed down by an asylum request that he previously submitted to the Spanish authorities.

"I'm prepared for either situation, the good or the bad, it's up to him and others to give statements. This case will continue and we'll see how it ends," Carvajal's wife, Angélica Flores, told The Associated Press.

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Who is Hugo Carvajal?

Nicknamed "El Pollo ("The Chicken"), Hugo Carvajal had served as the chief of military intelligence of Venezuela during the presidency of the late Hugo Chavez.

But in early 2019, the former spy chief fled Venezuela after coming out in support of President Nicholas Maduro's opponent Juan Guaido. After Venezuelan authorities stripped him of his rank as general, Hugo Carvajal made his way to the Dominican Republic before he went to stay in Spain.

Carvajal has been suspected of being involved in large-scale drug trafficking operations with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas by U.S. officials.

Based on an indictment filed in 2011, the former Venezuelan spy chief was accused of coordinating a shipment of more than 5.6 tons of cocaine from Venezuela with the U.S. as its destination. Carvajal also faced accusations of providing "heavily-armed security" to protect the drug shipments heading to the U.S.

If convicted, the former Venezuelan spy chief could face between 10 years to life imprisonment, but he denies the said allegations.

In 2019, Carvajal told the New York Times that he had been in contact with FARC in order to help facilitate the release of a businessman that the guerrilla group held as a hostage. 

He has denied his participation in the alleged drugs shipments and said he had reported numerous shipments of cocaine to authorities but was ignored.

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Written by: Jess Smith

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