Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares Detained, Faces Federal Drug Charges in Manhattan – NBC New York

The previous nationwide police chief of Honduras made an preliminary look in a New York courtroom Wednesday after his extradition to the USA to face legal drug trafficking fees, a day after the previous president of the Central America nation pleaded not guilty to related criminal charges.

Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, 62, was detained with out bail after a 10-minute continuing earlier than a Justice of the Peace choose in Manhattan federal courtroom.

A lawyer who was appointed to symbolize him declined remark outdoors courtroom.

Higher often called “El Tigre,” or “The Tiger,” Bonilla Valladares served because the nation’s prime police official in 2012 and 2013. He was arrested March 9 after he was labeled by U.S. prosecutors as a co-conspirator of former President Juan Orlando Hernández and the president’s brother Tony Hernández.

A prosecutor mentioned he was turned over to U.S. authorities earlier than midday on Tuesday and arrived in the New York space final evening. He faces drug trafficking and weapons fees.

“Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez would not have risen to power and successfully benefited from massive drug proceeds had it not been for his expansive network of corrupt associates,” mentioned Anne Milgram, administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“These associates, including Bonilla Valladares, likewise exploited their positions to traffic cocaine to the United States and violently protect other politically connected drug traffickers, all for their own personal gains,” she mentioned in a launch. “Bonilla Valladares further betrayed the Honduran people by using his law enforcement badge to cover for his crimes.”

U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams mentioned the extradition of Bonilla Valladares “demonstrates that no one is exempt by virtue of their title or position of authority — even foreign Presidents and police chiefs — from criminal prosecution for contributing to the flood of illegal narcotics into this country that causes so much harm.”

U.S. fees in opposition to Bonilla Valladares were announced in April 2020 when authorities alleged that he used his regulation enforcement clout to guard U.S.-bound shipments of cocaine. Bonilla denied on the time being a drug trafficker.

He mentioned then he would go wherever essential to show the accusations unfaithful and recommended drug traffickers have been behind the accusations. He cited his lengthy cooperation with the U.S. State Division as proof he was trusted by the U.S. authorities.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for Honduras’ former president made related claims weeks after Hernández was extradited to New York to face fees that he obtained thousands and thousands of {dollars} from 2004 to 2022 to assist a drug commerce that delivered tons of of 1000’s of kilograms of medication to the U.S.

NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst experiences.

Hernández, who led the Central American nation from 2014 by way of 2022, has denied fees together with collaborating in a drug trafficking conspiracy, possession of machine weapons and harmful units, and conspiracy to own machine weapons and harmful units. A trial was tentatively set for Jan. 17.

Legal professional Raymond Colon mentioned outdoors courtroom Tuesday that he believed the previous president was the sufferer of lies informed by drug traffickers looking for to cut back lengthy jail sentences. He additionally cited what he described as his shopper’s lengthy assist of U.S. companies that pursue drug traffickers and his willingness to allow them to be extradited to the U.S.

The previous president’s brother, Tony Hernández, is serving a life sentence after his October 2019 conviction in New York federal courtroom on drug trafficking fees that prosecutors mentioned amounted to state-sponsored drug dealing.

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