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Chavez: Peru’s Ex-Spy Chief Not Here

June 22, 2001

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LIMA, Peru (AP) _ President Hugo Chavez denied that his country is harboring Peru’s fugitive ex-spy chief and promised to extradite Vladimiro Montesinos if he’s caught in Venezuela.

``Rest assured that he will be returned to Peru in a heartbeat,″ Chavez told reporters Thursday after meeting briefly with President-elect Alejandro Toledo at a military base in Lima.

Chavez, en route to a regional trade meeting in Paraguay, said he stopped here to ``meet and greet″ Toledo, who will take office on July 28.

Montesinos, the shadowy power broker behind ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s 10-year rule, fled Peru last year and reportedly underwent plastic surgery at a Caracas clinic in December.

He is on the run from several criminal charges, including extortion, drug trafficking and smuggling arms to Colombian guerrillas.

Scandals swirling around Montesinos toppled Fujimori’s government in November. Toledo was elected during a second-round election on June 3.

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