Hugo Armando Carvajal, popularly known as El Pollo Carvajal (61), had been on the run for nearly two years since he left his home in Madrid, after learning that the National Court (the highest Spanish court) had changed its mind and authorized his extradition to the United States, as demanded by the US authorities. Head of the Venezuelan secret service for years, he was accused of being the link between the Colombian FARC guerrillas and Venezuela, in a plan designed by former President Hugo Chávez to “fight the US by flooding them with cocaine.”
DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency) officials have tried to follow in his slippery footsteps ever since. Until they gathered enough evidence to conclude that he was in an apartment in Madrid, on the third floor of Torrelaguna Street, curiously close to the police complex in Canillas. There, DEA agents and those from Spain’s Drug and Organized Crime Unit (Udyco) finally mounted an operation two days ago. Carvajal was arrested on Thursday night. “I’ve been locked in apartments for two years. It changed every three months, except on this occasion, when I was eight,” the most wanted secret agent in the Americas confessed to the police, while he was being handcuffed.
The 10 million dollars (52.3 million reais) offered by the DEA to anyone who could reveal its whereabouts allowed the arrival of several pieces of information, which were verified “one by one” by the officers of the Fugitives unit. “We found out if he had left the country and was in Andorra. It had been located in various parts of Spain, but finally the most concrete information was this last one: he was in Madrid and he had a person who was helping him,” police sources said. This person was a Venezuelan woman. “In theory, the apartment was in this woman’s name. She was the one who gave him everything he needed. No neighbors had seen him.”
El Pollo “it didn’t go out at all, it only approached the balcony at night,” police sources said. But the agents could see that when the woman left the apartment, there was still movement inside. “There were noises, and the lights came on when she wasn’t there.” The police even waited for the woman to leave and offered her a million dollar sum for her confession: “She didn’t want to, she left.” Shortly thereafter, however, agents noticed that she had notified Carvajal’s family and friends that he had been located.
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Feeling cornered, the secret agent — who said goodbye to his wife Angelica two years ago saying “I’ll be fine, take care of the children” (he has eight children from two marriages) — approached the property’s window and was seen by the agents, who inspected the area. Shortly thereafter, the police handcuffed him. He was found locked in the last room of the apartment, with a knife in his hand.
So ended another of his long escapes. Before, he had already escaped from the US authorities with the help of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Then he fled from his successor, Nicolás Maduro, who considered him a traitor, and settled in Madrid.
Although DEA information indicated that Carvajal could have undergone plastic surgery to change his appearance, the agents who detained him for the second time did not confirm this finding. “He looks the same,” they said. El Pollo he had been released earlier, when initially the National Audience considered that the reason for his extradition was “political reasons”. At the time, he emerged triumphant from prison in Estremera (Madrid), expected by his family at the door. Now, after a thorny and controversial judicial tour, which includes allegations of pressure on the judges of the National Court, he has fallen again — and is again awaiting his extradition to the United States.
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