Hungary Extradites Brazilian ‘Pablo Escobar’ to Belgium

Published: 20 June 2023

Brazilian Escobar HungaryHungarian police prepares to extradite Brazilian Escobar. (Photo: Hungarian Emergency Police National Investigation Office/screenshot, License)

By Vinicius Madureira

A Brazilian suspected of being one of the world’s largest drug lords, accused of shipping over 45 tonnes of cocaine from South America to Europe, was extradited from Hungary to Belgium on June 15 to stand trial, Hungarian police said Friday.

Sergio Roberto de Carvalho, also known as the “Brazilian Pablo Escobar,” was transferred from a prison in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, to a local airport in an operation reminiscent of a movie. Police helicopters provided aerial security, while a convoy of armed police guarded him during the transfer.

He was flown to Belgium on a plane provided by the Belgian military. A local court has ordered his temporary detention.

The Hungarian police said “the fact that” Carvalho “declared himself dead years ago and lived under a false identity reflects his underworld connections,” and added that he is also “facing criminal proceedings for document forgery” in Hungary.

The former Brazilian military police officer used “at least 10 aliases, and each of them had fake identification documents.” In June 2022, Hungarian authorities received a tip about his presence in the country. Within six hours, Carvalho was detained by the police while having breakfast in a Budapest hotel. At the time of his arrest, he was allegedly using a forged Mexican passport under the name of Guilhermo Diaz Flores.

Since his arrest, several countries, including Carvalho’s home country and the United States, requested his extradition, and last week, Hungary’s Minister of Justice, Judit Varga, decided to hand him over to Belgium.

Police say the alleged Brazilian drug lord used a seawater desalination company based in Antwerp to smuggle more than 3.2 tonnes of cocaine into Europe. Carvalho is also believed to have been connected with a notorious drug kingpin operating along the border of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Carvalho had been wanted since November 2020 following an operation in Brazil that seized over 100 million dollars belonging to the criminal group he allegedly led. Since then, he had been the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.