Hungary extradites 'Brazilian Escobar' to Belgium

Brazilian drug baron Sergio Roberto De Carvalho will be extradited to Belgium, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Hungarian Ministry of Justice have confirmed to Belgian magazine Knack. According to Interpol, the case involves "one of the biggest international drug traffickers".

Interpol reported on 22 June 2022 that De Carvalho had been arrested in Budapest, having been wanted internationally by the Brazilian police since 2020. Hungarian police said "a criminal organisation led by a Brazilian man was responsible for smuggling at least 45 tonnes of cocaine between 2017 and 2019".

Brazil requested the extradition of "Brazilian Escobar" De Carvalho. He is "one of the main distributors of drugs exported from Brazil to Europe", according to the Hungarian court. The US also issued an international arrest warrant for the man, and a Belgian investigating judge issued a European arrest warrant. 

Crackdown on smuggling

On 15 May, the Budapest capital court ruled that De Carvalho could be extradited. The Hungarian Ministry of Justice confirmed to Knack that he would be extradited to Belgium. He could then be transferred to the US or Brazil based on extradition requests. The Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office confirmed the news but could not give further details for security reasons.

According to Knack, the Belgian extradition request is linked to a major crackdown on drug smuggling from Brazil to Europe in November 2020. The crime syndicate targeted by the operation, of which De Carvalho is said to be the lynchpin, was "responsible for the annual import of at least 45 tonnes of cocaine into European seaports, with profits of more than 100 million euros in six months", according to Europol.

In the Belgian part of the investigation, an investigating judge in Bruges arrested four suspects and seized 300,000 euros in cash. The Federal Prosecutor's Office would not confirm whether the arrest warrant against De Carvalho was part of that investigation.


Sergio Roberto de Carvalho in court on 23 June 2022 after being arrested on the terrace of a restaurant in Budapest © PHOTO AFP

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