Ex-Venezuelan spy chief Carvajal discussing surrender with U.S. authorities: sources

CARACAS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The former head of Venezuela’s military intelligence unit, Hugo Carvajal, is discussing his possible surrender with U.S. authorities, three people familiar with the matter said on Saturday, after prosecutors charged him this week with drug trafficking alongside Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Carvajal, a former general and ally of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, has been in hiding since a Spanish court in November approved his extradition to the United States. It was unclear when or if he would surrender as the people said talks were ongoing.

One person familiar with the matter said U.S. authorities were in touch with Carvajal through a non-governmental intermediary trying to convince him to turn himself in, and there was a “50/50 chance” it would succeed.

Carvajal’s lawyer in Spain, Maria Dolores Arguelles, said she was not aware of discussions over his surrender.

U.S. officials have long sought Carvajal because they believe, if he is willing to cooperate, that he could provide a treasure trove of information on the alleged drug activities of Maduro and his associates.

The U.S. State Department and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA declined to comment. The Justice Department did not return requests to comment. Spain’s Justice Ministry declined to comment.

On Friday, DEA agents flew to Colombia to remand in custody retired Venezuelan general Cliver Alcala, three people familiar with the matter said, after he agreed to work with prosecutors who charged him in the same case.

The U.S. government on Thursday indicted Carvajal, Alcala, Maduro, and a dozen other current and former Venezuelan officials on charges of “narco-terrorism”, the latest escalation of a pressure campaign by U.S. President Donald Trump administration to oust the socialist leader.

Attorney General William Barr accused Maduro and his associates of colluding with a dissident faction of the demobilized Colombian guerrilla group, the FARC, “to flood the United States with cocaine.”

Carvajal has repeatedly denied accusations he helped smuggle cocaine to the United States. During an extradition hearing in September, Carvajal said Washington was fabricating the drug trafficking charges to make him talk.

Since leaving Venezuela, Carvajal has denounced Maduro and given his support to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has staked a rival claim to the Venezuelan presidency with U.S. support.

Carvajal was arrested by Spanish police in April 2019 at the request of U.S. authorities but Spain’s High Court initially ruled that he should be released and his extradition request denied. The court reversed that decision in November.

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Islamic State gunman kills 25 in attack on Sikh house of worship in Kabul

A lone Islamic State gunman rampaged through a Sikh house of worship in the heart of the Afghan capital Wednesday, killing 25 worshippers and wounding eight, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said.

The gunman held many worshippers hostage for several hours while Afghan special forces, helped by international troops, tried to clear the building. At least one of the dead was a child.

Within hours, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

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SiRT investigating child pornography case that may involve RCMP officer

Nova Scotia’s police watchdog says an investigation is underway into a child pornography case that may involve an RCMP office.

Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) says it was contacted by the RCMP on March 3 concerning an “investigation they were conducting in relation to the possession of child pornography that may involve a member of RCMP in Nova Scotia.”

SiRT says it commenced an investigation into the matter on March 11 “when additional information became available.”

Few other details have been released.

The Serious Incident Response Team is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing.

The team can independently begin an investigation after a referral from a chief of police, the head of the RCMP in Nova Scotia or the Minister of Justice. It can also investigate after a complaint from the public.

The Police Act requires the director to file a public report summarizing the result of the investigation within three months after it is finished.

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Man jailed for killing armed robber in his own home by stabbing him 17 times

A man who killed an armed robber that broke into his and threatened to kill him has been jailed for five years.

Patrick Phinn, 49, stabbed Ronald Pattison, 38, 17 times at his home in Easterhouse, Glasgow, in September 2018.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Pattison had turned up at Phinn’s house demanding money when a fight broke out.

Pattison, who had a knife, threatened to kill the 49-year-old, and his partner, during the row, and Phinn grabbed a knife.

Phinn then lunged at Pattison, and stabbed him 17 times, killing him.

During the trial, Phinn claimed he acted in self defence, but a jury found he “went beyond what was necessary."

  • Witnesses relive horror as girl, 7, murdered in park while playing with mum and dad

Phinn was originally charged with murdering the 38-year-old, but a jury found him guilty of the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

During the trial, defence QC Tony Graham said: "Mr Phinn recognises the extremely serious nature of the crime of which he has been convicted, but I struggle to see how there could have been greater provocation.

"This man came into their home while they were watching the telly."

But Lord Matthews jailed him and told Phinn: "It is difficult to think of circumstances where provocation is more appropriate than this.

"This was extreme in the circumstances.

"However, the jury was satisfied that you went beyond what was necessary."

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