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Spain arrests Venezuelan spymaster wanted on US drug charges

MIAMI (AP) — Police in Madrid have arrested in a hideout apartment a former Venezuelan spymaster on U.S. narcotics charges nearly two years after he defied a Spanish extradition order and disappeared.

Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who for over a decade was Hugo Chavez’s eyes and ears in the military, was arrested Thursday night at a small apartment in which he had been holed up.

“He lived totally enclosed, never going outside or getting close to the window, always protected by people he trusted,” Spain's police said in a statement on social media in which they posted a short video the moment heavily-armed officers put handcuffs on Carvajal.

Spain's high court in 2019 approved Carvajal’s extradition to the U.S., where he faces federal narcotics charges in New York and Florida over alleged ties with Colombian rebels known to control valuable cocaine smuggling routes.

The decision followed an earlier ruling, by a high court magistrate, throwing out the U.S. arrest warrant for being politically motivated. In the interim, Carvajal was released and never heard from again except for a brief statement on social media last year where he said he went underground to protest what he saw as political interference in his case.

Carvajal has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Parra reported from Madrid.

Joshua Goodman And Aritz Parra, The Associated Press

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