Hungary Close to Extraditing 'Brazilian Escobar’
A Hungary court ruled that a notorious Brazilian drug baron involved in large-scale shipments of cocaine to Europe should be extradited to either Belgium, the United States, or his home country.
It is now up to the country’s Minister of Justice, Judit Varga, to determine which of the three countries will be entrusted with the proceedings concerning the man dubbed the ‘Brazilian Escobar,’ as he attains a similar status as that of the notorious Colombian drug lord.
Sérgio Roberto de Carvalho, a former Brazilian military police officer, was caught nearly a year ago while having breakfast at a hotel in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. He used a forged Mexican passport under the name of Guilhermo Diaz Flores to stay in the country.
Hungarian authorities acted on a red notice issued by Interpol and requested by Brazil in 2020. He had been under investigation as part of Operation Enterprise, which also resulted in the seizure of more than US$100 million linked to several suspects.
Upon his arrest, a local court promptly ordered his temporary detention for the purpose of extradition. His legal team filed multiple appeals based on concerns about the state of rule of law and prison conditions in Brazil. However, Friday’s ruling upheld a court decision from March, affirming his extradition.
Carvalho is suspected of having led a group that trafficked cocaine to Europe. He has been accused of being behind the shipment of at least 45 tonnes of the drug from South America through Brazilian ports to Europe between 2017 and 2019, as well as laundering millions of dollars through shell companies.
Late last year, law enforcement authorities in Portugal conducted widespread raids in Lisbon and Porto that resulted in the arrest of nine individuals connected to Carvalho. Among those were the brother and brother-in-law of Rúben Oliveira, also known as Xuxa, who is believed to be the country's leading drug trafficker. Oliveira had been detained a few months prior to these arrests.