Honduran ex-president extradited to US to face drug trafficking fees in New York

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Honduras’ former president Juan Orlando Hernández, who left workplace in January, was extradited to the U.S. Thursday to face drug trafficking fees in New York. 

Hernández is accused of operating a “narco-state” throughout his eight years in workplace and pocketing hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from drug cartels.  

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, center, is taken in handcuffs to a waiting aircraft as he is extradited to the United States, at an Air Force base in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, April 21, 2022. 

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, heart, is taken in handcuffs to a ready plane as he’s extradited to the US, at an Air Drive base in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, April 21, 2022. 
(AP Picture/Elmer Martinez)

U.S. prosecutors allege Hernández participated in a “corrupt and violent drug-trafficking conspiracy” that moved greater than 550 tons of cocaine to the US. 

U.S. Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland mentioned the previous chief, who the U.S. as soon as touted as an ally within the battle on drug trafficking, “abused his power” whereas president. 

He’s accused of permitting cartels to function within the nation with “virtual impunity,” Garland mentioned, and utilizing the cash to finance his political campaigns and take part in voter fraud. 

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“We allege that Hernández corrupted legitimate public institutions in the country — including parts of the national police, military and national Congress,” Garland mentioned. 

He added, “Drug trafficking fuels violent crime and addiction; it devastates families, and it ravages communities. The Justice Department is committed to disrupting the entire ecosystem of drug trafficking networks that harm the American people, no matter how far or how high we must go.”

A STUNNING FALL FOR EX-HONDURAN PRESIDENT, ARRESTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE US FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, center, wearing a blue protective face mask and handcuffed, is escorted under heavy guard to a waiting aircraft at the Air Force base in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, April 21, 2022. 

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, heart, sporting a blue protecting face masks and handcuffed, is escorted beneath heavy guard to a ready plane on the Air Drive base in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, April 21, 2022. 
(AP Picture/Elmer Martinez)

The previous chief was succeeded by Xiomara Castro in January, who ran an anti-corruption marketing campaign, particularly concentrating on Hernández, who took workplace in 2014.

Hernández was charged with taking part in a drug trafficking conspiracy, possession of machine weapons and damaging gadgets and conspiracy to own machine weapons and damaging gadgets.

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A bunch of Hondurans have been seen celebrating exterior the airport because the airplane taking Hernández to the U.S. took off on Thursday. Many voters left the nation throughout his presidency, accusing him of corruption, lack of job alternatives and complaining of rampant gang violence in Honduras. 

Honduras’ Supreme Court docket denied Hernández’s attraction this week after a choose determined in favor of extradition. He has denied all the costs towards him, claiming he is the sufferer of drug traffickers he extradited throughout his presidency – and who subsequently testified towards him – in search of revenge. 

BIDEN ADMIN REVEALS EX-HONDURAN LEADER ON LIST OF CORRUPT CENTRAL AMERICAN OFFICIALS

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Anne Milgram, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, announce the extradition and unsealing of an indictment charging former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez with participating in a cocaine-importation conspiracy and related firearms offenses, at the Department of Justice on Thursday, April 21, 2022 in Washington.

Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland and Anne Milgram, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, announce the extradition and unsealing of an indictment charging former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez with taking part in a cocaine-importation conspiracy and associated firearms offenses, on the Division of Justice on Thursday, April 21, 2022 in Washington.
(Win McNamee/Pool through AP)

Hernández was arrested at his house in Tegucigalpa in February on the request of U.S. authorities. He arrived in New York in a single day Thursday, in accordance with reviews on social media. 

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Final 12 months, his brother Tony Hernández, a former Honduran congressman, was sentenced to life in jail for drug trafficking within the Southern District of New York, the identical courtroom the place the previous president faces fees.

On Wednesday, Honduras’ Supreme Court docket additionally denied an attraction from the previous chief of the Nationwide Police, Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, higher generally known as “El Tigre” or “The Tiger.” He was arrested on the request of U.S. prosecutors on comparable fees and is predicted to be extradited within the coming weeks.

The Related Press contributed to this report. 

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