Juan Orlando Hernandez, Ex-Honduras President, Faces Drug, Weapons Trafficking Charges – NBC New York

Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was president of Honduras for eight years, arrived at an airport north of New York Metropolis in handcuffs Thursday as he was extradited to face costs in a sweeping narcotics and federal drug trafficking investigation.

Hernandez, who has strongly denied any wrongdoing, was escorted below heavy guard by Drug Enforcement Administration brokers to an SUV ready to take him to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Heart forward of his preliminary courtroom look.

That look in New York’s Southern District is anticipated in some unspecified time in the future Friday.

Juan Orlando Hernandez will face drug trafficking costs after being delivered to New York.

The extraordinary sight of a former head of state in handcuffs, escorted onto a ready U.S. authorities airplane by brokers of the DEA, adopted the arrest of Hernandez in February at his house in Tegucigalpa.

It was lower than a month after he stepped down from workplace.

Now he is in New York to face costs.

U.S. Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland stated Hernandez “abused his position as President of Honduras from 2014 through 2022 to operate the country as a narco-state.”

(For more in Spanish from Honduran newspaper Diario La Prensa on Hernandez’s arrest, click here)

The costs stated he obtained tens of millions of {dollars} for shielding the drug traffickers from arrest and for facilitating their shipments.

U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams stated that Hernandez “partnered with some of the world’s most prolific narcotics traffickers to build a corrupt and brutally violent empire” that trafficked a whole lot of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to the U.S.

A type of alleged companions was the infamous El Chapo, the previous chief of the Sinaloa Cartel now in jail within the U.S. Prosecutors stated that as Hernandez was campaigning for president in 2013, he accepted a $1 million bribe from El Chapo, as he promised the drug lord would be capable to proceed working in Honduras.

“Hernandez is alleged to have used his vast political powers to protect and assist drug traffickers and cartel leaders by alerting them to possible interdictions, and sanctioning heavily-armed violence to support their drug trade,” Williams stated.

In one other assembly he held with a violent and large-scale Honduran cocaine trafficker, Hernandez took bribes to make sure drug trafficking may proceed and to offer safety. The then-president even really helpful the drug lord companion with one other trafficker in order that all of them may “stuff the drugs right up the noses of the gringos,” in accordance with prosecutors.

A Honduran choose dominated final month that he could possibly be extradited to the U.S.

Getty Photographs

Former President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez is escorted by Members of the Police Particular Forces to be extradited to U.S.to face costs of taking bribes from drug traffickers at Honduran Nationwide Directorate of Particular Forces on April 21, 2022 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (Photograph by Jorge Cabrera/Getty Photographs)

Hernandez faces cocaine trafficking and weapons costs, which may land him in jail for all times, if convicted.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram known as Hernandez “a central figure in one of the largest and most violent cocaine-trafficking conspiracies in the world.” Milgram went on to say that he “used drug-trafficking proceeds to finance his political ascent and, once elected President, leveraged the Government of Honduras’ law enforcement, military, and financial resources to further his drug-trafficking scheme.”

His brother, Juan Antonio Hernandez, was sentenced in New York final yr to life in jail upon conviction for drug trafficking and weapons violations. Throughout that trial, prosecutors stated President Hernandez agreed to make use of his nation’s navy forces to offer safety for drug traffickers.

In a video assertion posted on social media, Hernandez stated he’s harmless and that he had been arrange by drug traffickers. The previous president stated on social media this yr that the U.S. costs had been based mostly on the claims of “drug traffickers and confessed assassins who were extradited by my government.”

The extradition of Hernandez to the U.S. marked one of many few instances a former head of state was introduced right here to face costs. In 1990, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was arrested on drug trafficking costs throughout a US navy operation. He was convicted in federal courtroom in Miami.

Source link