The US Wants to Extradite the Former President of Honduras on Drug Charges - DMT NEWS

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The US Wants to Extradite the Former President of Honduras on Drug Charges

The U.S. has requested the extradition of the former president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández just weeks after he left office. 

Hernández, who announced on Twitter this morning that he will hand himself in once a judge has been appointed to review the extradition request, has always denied years of allegations in U.S. court cases that he oversaw a “narco state” during his time in office, taking bribes from drug-traffickers and benefiting financially from the international cocaine trade. 

But the former president has been named as a co-conspirator in a number of drug-trafficking cases in the U.S., including one in which prosecutors accused him of saying he wanted to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos.” 

Witnesses, mostly convicted drug-traffickers, have alleged that Hernández took a million-dollar donation for his presidential campaign from Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in 2013 in exchange for protection of the Sinaloa Cartel’s interests in Honduras.  

His brother, Antonio “Tony” Hernández, was convicted for drug trafficking in the U.S. in 2019 and sentenced to life behind bars last year. During his trial, Tony was described as “a uniquely bad character. Who, along with his brother, is at the centre of years of state sponsored drug trafficking.” 

News footage from late Monday evening showed Honduran police officers surrounding the house of former president Hernández. There has been speculation in recent months that should the U.S. seek to prosecute him, Hernández may go on the run. But his statements via Twitter Tuesday morning suggest that he is prepared to face the music.

“This is not an easy moment,” said Hernández in a voice message on Twitter. “The national police have received the message via representatives that I am ready to cooperate.”

Around a 100 police officers surrounded Hernández’s home on Monday evening, reportedly surprising the former president.

His lawyer, Hermes Ramírez, confirmed that Hernández was home and they were “working on his legal strategy” when the police arrived. Ramírez claimed that other lawyers have not been allowed to enter and they have not been informed of the details of the extradition request and arrest warrant. “They are trampling on the rights of my client.”

Honduras Security Minister Ramón Sabillón spoke to local press outside of Hernández house and said that “it is a victory for the people, it is justice for the people.”

Despite the allegations against him, Hernández was an important ally to the U.S. government in anti-narcotic efforts during his time in office. During his tenure a number of important drug-trafficking groups were extradited and prosecuted in the U.S., including Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga of the Cachiros and Geovanny Fuentes. Both of them subsequently accused the Honduran government and Hernández of aiding and abetting their drug-trafficking activities.

The U.S. State Department and Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from VICE News. Charges against him have not been made public.  



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Deborah Bonello, Khareem Sudlow