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CRIME

Spanish court approves the extradition of US citizen wanted in husband’s murder

Woman is wanted for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill her wealthy Canadian spouse in 2005

Aurea Vázquez Ríjos appears before the High Court on December 18. Ampliar foto
Aurea Vázquez Ríjos appears before the High Court on December 18. EFE

The Spanish High Court on Friday gave the go ahead for the extradition of a US citizen who is wanted in the territory of Puerto Rico by federal authorities for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill her wealthy Canadian husband, judicial sources said Friday.

Aurea Vázquez Ríjos was arrested at Barajas international airport in Madrid on June 30 after she arrived from Italy where she had been living as a fugitive. She appeared before the High Court on December 18 to fight her extradition, telling a judge that she was the victim of the “mafia and corrupt people” who wanted to do her harm.

In 2008, a US federal grand jury indicted her on charges related to hiring a hit man to murder her husband, Adam Ahang, who was planning on divorcing her. Specifically, she faces conspiracy charges involving the use of “an interstate facility,” – a telephone – for allegedly planning the murder for hire.

The 32-year-old Winnipeg native was beaten and stabbed to death on September 23, 2005 on a street in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he had moved to work on real estate development.

The wife denied the charges but refused to cooperate with investigators and fled to Italy.

FBI director James Comey spoke to Spanish officials about Vázquez Ríjos’ case in December

Spanish authorities were given guarantees that Vázquez Ríjos would not face the death penalty. A 1971 extradition treaty signed between the United States and Spain prohibits the extradition of any person unless there is a pledge that the wanted suspect will not face capital punishment.

FBI director James Comey also gave assurances when he spoke to Spanish High Court officials about Vázquez Ríjos' case, as well as other matters, during his last trip to Madrid on December 10.

Authorities in Italy, where Vázquez Ríjos had been living, had refused to extradite her because they believed that the US Justice Department would ask for the death penalty.

The Spanish Cabinet will have the final say on whether Vázquez Ríjos will be sent back to the United States to face charges.

Vázquez Ríjos, who has two children from another man in Italy, told the High Court that she was working as a tourism representative and had traveled to Madrid for business at the time of her arrest.