Honduras: green light for the extradition to the United States of the ex-president for drug trafficking

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A Honduran Supreme Court judge on Wednesday accepted the US request for the extradition of former President Hernandez, accused of drug trafficking. The latter, suspected of having protected drug traffickers in exchange for bribes, has the possibility of appealing.

Honduran justice gave the green light on Wednesday March 16 to the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernandez (2014-2022) to the United States where he must be tried for drug trafficking, the Court announced on Twitter. Supreme Justice (CSJ) of Honduras.

“The trial extradition judge decides (to) accept the extradition request presented by the court for the Southern District of New York concerning the former President of the Republic Juan Orlando Hernandez Alvarado”, announced the CSJ.

This decision is subject to appeal within the next three days, said a spokesman for the judiciary, Melvin Duarte. In this case, it would be the Supreme Court sitting in plenary session that would have the final say.

Bribes

Under the terms of the extradition request, American justice wants to try the former head of state in particular for “conspiracy” to import drugs into the United States and “possession of firearms, including submachine guns and equipment of destruction to aid in the conspiracy to import narcotics”.

Also according to the extradition request, Juan Orlando Hernandez “participated (from 2004 to 2022) in the violent conspiracy of drug trafficking for the receipt of numerous tons of cocaine sent to Honduras from Colombia and Venezuela, among others, by air or sea”. “The conspiracy transported over 500 tons of cocaine to the United States via Honduras,” the extradition request adds.

According to US prosecutors in charge of the case in New York, the former head of state of Honduras received millions of dollars from various drug trafficking organizations in Honduras, Mexico and other countries. In exchange for these bribes, Juan Orlando Hernandez “protected the drug traffickers from investigations, (avoiding their) arrest and extradition”, assure the American authorities. In 2013, “Hern├índez accepted approximately $1 million from drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo,” they add.

New power in place

During the trial in the United States of the brother of Juan Orlando Hernandez, ex-Congressman “Tony” Hernandez, the New York prosecutors believe that the former president was involved in the drug trafficking for which “Tony” Hernandez was was sentenced in March 2021 to life imprisonment.

Known in Honduras by the initials of his name – “JOH” – the former conservative president is a 53-year-old lawyer. He handed over power on January 27 to left-wing president Xiomara Castro.

President for eight years, he presented himself during his two terms as the champion of the fight against drug trafficking destined for the United States.

With AFP

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