Spain’s National Court suspended the extradition of Venezuelan ex-military officer Hugo Armando ‘El Pollo’ Carvajal Barrios to the US Friday following Carvaja’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Carvajal, former Director of Venezuela’s Military Intelligence (DIM) and former politician, faces illicit drug trafficking and firearms trafficking charges in the US. According to the US Deptartment of State, Carvajal led and managed the Cartel of Suns while conspiring with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a terrorist organization.
The US District Court for the Southern District of New York charged Carvajal with various crimes in March 2020. For instance, the court found Carvajal conspired to “transport and distribute large cocaine shipments,” and to “help provide the FARC with military-grade weapons, including machine guns, ammunition, rocket launchers, and explosives equipment.” Following the court’s finding, the US State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million dollars for information leading to Carvajal’s arrest.
In September, the Spain Supreme Court dismissed Carvajal’s direct request for a precautionary measure. In doing so, the court reasoned that Carvajal’s petition brief failed to raise valid arguments or note any urgent circumstances necessary to permit a precautionary measure request. The court also observed that Carval had previously filed a motion requesting his extradition be suspended based on a precautionary measure, which a lower court had denied. The court noted that although this denial did not preclude Carvajal from refiling the motion, Carvajal should have invoked new arguments in the subsequent motion.
The ECHR recently recommended that the Spain National Court suspend Carvajal’s extradition as a precautionary measure pending the outcome of his appeal. The national court found the ECHR’s recommendation persuasive and granted Carvajal’s motion.