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Honduras ex-president extradited to US

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Honduras former president Juan Orlando Hernandez/AFP
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Apr 22, 2022 - 02:31 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was extradited Thursday to the US, where he will face federal drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Hernandez was delivered by the Honduran National Police to US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents at Tegucigalpa Airport and then boarded a DEA plane bound for New York, where he will be imprisoned and tried.

Hernandez, who was president from January 2014 to January 2022, had been detained in a prison of the Special Forces of the National Police known as Los Cobras since Feb. 15, the day he surrendered to police at the request of the US Department of Justice.

In the extradition request, US prosecutors claimed that between 2004 and 2022, “Hernandez participated in a violent drug trafficking conspiracy to receive multiple shipments of cocaine.”

The document states that the former president sent roughly 500,000 kilos of cocaine “to Honduras from Colombia and Venezuela, among other places.” He allegedly received “millions of dollars in bribes” from multiple narcotrafficking organizations in Honduras and Mexico.

Hernandez has repeatedly denied any involvement in the criminal conduct and has blamed the allegations against him on drug traffickers.

“This is revenge from the cartels, it’s an orchestrated plot so that no government will confront them again,” he said in a handwritten letter a month ago.

Although Hernandez was considered one of Washington’s top allies in Central America during Donald Trump’s administration, he did not enjoy the support of President Joe Biden.

The arrest occurred just days after the new leftist government of Xiomara Castro, who campaigned on fighting corruption, took office in Honduras on Jan. 27. The same day Hernandez left office, he was sworn in as Honduras’ representative to the Central American Parliament.

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