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Ex-Honduran President indicted to face drug charges

Honduras,Juan Orlando Hernández

NEW YORK (Transatlantic Today) – US officials have charged ex Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez with firearms violations and drug trafficking, alleging that he was involved in the smuggling of tonnes of cocaine into the US during the past 2 decades. 

In an abrogating indictment unsealed this Thursday, Hernandez, the former 2-term president of Honduras, faces 3 federal counts: conspiring to carry and use machine guns in furtherance of cocaine importation, conspiring to supply cocaine, and carrying and using machine guns in furtherance of cocaine importation. 

According to ABC NEWS, US Attorney General Merrick Garland stated Thursday that Hernandez has now been brought to the United States, where he will be prosecuted on Friday in New York. 

Last year, Hernandez, also known as JOH, was frequently mentioned in the prosecution of Honduran drug smuggler Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, who was given life imprisonment after being convicted on counts that included allegations that he paid bribes to Hernandez. 

Prosecutors claim Fuentes Ramirez was present when President Hernandez reportedly indicated he intended to “shove the drugs right up the gringos’ noses” as they sought to smuggle as much cocaine into the U.S. as possible. 

Hernandez has refuted making the comment and plotting against the United States. 

In addition to Fuentes Ramirez, Hernandez’s brother Tony, a Honduran lawmaker, was arrested for drug smuggling and lying to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in 2019. In addition, he was given a life sentence. 

While in office, Hernandez was an unprosecuted accused co-conspirator in his brother’s trial, but prosecutors simply waited until he was out of office in January to arrest him, which happened just weeks later. 

The allegations against the ex – president span the years 2004 through February 2022, when Honduran police detained him at the behest of the US. The indictment was unsealed on the same day that he arrived in the Southern District of New York, where he will be tried. 

Hernandez allegedly received millions in cocaine earnings as a Honduran congressman, president of the Honduran National Congress, and president of the country, which he reportedly used to enrich himself, fund his election campaigns, and commit voting fraud while the citizens of Honduras suffered from violence and poverty, according to the indictment. 

According to the indictment, Hernandez reportedly took a $1 million payment from El Chapoto in 2013 to safeguard the Sinaloa drug cartel’s operations in Honduras, and Hernandez dispatched colleagues carrying machine guns to collect the money. 

According to the indictment, other traffickers paid Hernandez for security, and he used that money to secure his continuing rise in Honduran politics.  Hernandez reportedly urged others to bribe election authorities and politicians with cocaine revenues in order to ensure his victory in the presidential elections of 2013 and 2017, according to federal prosecutors. 

Hernandez faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

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