The Spanish high court ruled that the former Venezuelan spy chief, Hugo Carvajal, should be extradited to the United States.
Mr. Carvajal is accused of drug trafficking and collaboration with the FARC terrorist group of Colombia.
But it could also have incriminating evidence against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, one of the main adversaries of the United States.
Mr. Carvajal got into a fight with Mr. Maduro and fled Venezuela for Spain in 2019.
Mr. Carvajal has repeatedly denied having any links with drug traffickers or the Farc Marxist rebels and said the charges against him are politically motivated.
The ruling by the Spanish High Court follows a decision by the interior ministry to refuse asylum in Carvajal. However, that process has yet to be completed as Mr. Carvajal can appeal.
The extradition could also be delayed by another court case in which Mr. Carvajal may have to testify.
This is allegedly illegal funding by Venezuela of the Spanish left-wing Podemos party.
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Mr Carvajal, 61, nicknamed “El Pollo” (The Chicken), was arrested in Spain last month after being in hiding for nearly two years following a previous decision by the Spanish court that supported his extradition.
The United States and President Maduro’s government have been at loggerheads for years, with the United States imposing tough sanctions on Venezuela.
Who is Hugo Carvajal?
General Carvajal was head of Venezuelan military counterintelligence from July 2004 to December 2011, when Hugo Chávez was president of the country.
In 2011, US prosecutors charged Mr. Carvajal that he personally coordinated a direct shipment to the United States of more than five tons of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.
The prosecution also accused him of being on the payroll of a Colombian drug lord and having ties to the Farc.
- Who are the Farc?
He avoided a previous US extradition attempt and again served as the head of military counterintelligence under Maduro.
But in 2019 Carvajal chose to support opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the leader of Venezuela, and fled that year to Spain.
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