Hugo Carvajal, 59, the former head of Venezuela’s military intelligence service (Dirección General de Contraintelligencia Militar – DGCIM), was arrested in Spain on 12 April. There is a US warrant out for his arrest relating to the smuggling of 5,600 kgs of cocaine to Mexico in 2006. US prosecutors allege that for many years Carvajal was a senior figure in a drug smuggling ring involving the Venezuelan military. News of the arrest spread quickly after Carvajal appeared in court in Madrid on 13 April.
Carvajal was appointed head of DGCIM in 2004 under the rule of President Hugo Chavez. He left that post in 2011, returning for a brief spell between 2013 and 2014. In February, sensing how the tide was turning, he announced via Twitter that he could no longer back the current Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro is opposed by the United States who see him as continuing the left-wing policies of Hugo Chavez. Carvajal is believed to have arrived in Spain sometime in March under an assumed name. The NSA apparently tracked his arrival and the information was passed to the Guardia Civil. The United States will now attempt to extradite Carvajal. Carvajal will resist and there is likely to be a long process.
It is alleged that Caravajal’s nickname in the drug smuggling organisation was “El Pollo” (The Chicken). No one seems quite sure why.