Honduran President denies US accusations he protected El Chapo
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández has denied accusations by New York federal prosecutors that he protected drug lords, including Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, in exchange for bribes, and has sought to flood the streets of the United States with drugs.
The president, whose brother Juan Antonio “ Tony ” Hernández was convicted of drug trafficking in October 2019 in New York, was implicated when his name was cited in a previous investigation into the case of drug trafficking of Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez.
Fuentes Ramírez, who was arrested while attempting to board a plane at Miami International Airport on March 1, 2020, is accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States and of ‘killing several people to protect his business.
On Monday, representatives for President Hernandez, who has yet to be charged, tweeted categorical denials of any involvement in the case.
“The assertion that Pres. Hernandez allegedly accepted drug money from a Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez, or offered protection or coordination to drug traffickers is 100% false, and appears to be based on lies from avowed criminals seeking revenge and reduce their sentences, ” a post said.
“ This opportunistic claim and others are disputed by the essential fact that during the Hernández administration, cocaine trafficking through Honduras fell from 87% to 4% from 2013 to 2019, as acknowledged in the Department’s publications. of state. [INCRS)] of those years, ”read the second message.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York for his alleged links to drug traffickers, including Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán. The jailed Mexican drug lord reportedly provided $ 1 million to Hernández’s campaign and, in return, El Chapo’s drug shipments were protected in Honduras.
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán is linked by federal prosecutors in New York to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who received $ 1 million from the notorious drug lord ahead of his presidential campaign in 2013
Hernández has been identified as “CC-4” or “Co-conspirator 4” in court documents filed last Friday.
Former Honduran mayor Amílcar Alexander Ardón told prosecutors that former congressman Juan Antonio “ Tony ” Hernández was guaranteeing to protect El Chapo’s drug shipments in exchange for $ 1 million ahead of Juan Orlando Hernández’s 2013 presidential campaign.
In recent years, prosecutors in the Southern District of the United States of New York have escalated cases against drug traffickers to the Honduran security forces and the politicians who have protected them.
“This criminal investigation has established that corruption is endemic in Honduras and, given the stated objective in question, little assistance from the Honduran government in support of these ongoing prosecutions has been provided,” wrote prosecutors. “ For example, the Honduran government provided only limited records in response to an evidence treaty request regarding Tony Hernández and failed to honor extradition requests regarding other accused co-conspirators – and potential witnesses against the defendant and CC-4. ”
Juan Antonio ‘Tony’ Hernandez (pictured in 2017) was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy case in New York federal court in October 2019. He is the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández
A tweet posted by the Honduran Presidential Account dismissed charges last Friday in a New York federal court that President Juan Orlando Hernández was linked to the drug cartels.
Honduran presidential Twitter account hailed Central American nation’s efforts in curbing cocaine trafficking
At another point, US prosecutors challenged the arguments put forward by Fuentes Ramírez’s lawyers. “ The accused’s complaints about the government investigation ignore the realities of the development of evidence of drug trafficking and acts of violence in Honduras as part of an investigation targeting, among others, senior officials such as CC-4, ” the document reads.
Federal investigators said Fuentes Ramírez allegedly paid President Hernández $ 25,000 in 2013 so that he could grant protection.
Last month, prosecutors in the same case filed petitions saying the President of Honduras had accepted bribes from drug traffickers and asked the country’s armed forces to protect a cocaine lab and shipments to United States.
The documents quote Hernández as saying he wanted to “push the drug right up to the noses of the gringos” by flooding the United States with cocaine. “
Prosecutors have previously claimed that Hernández fueled his political aspirations with money from drug traffickers. In return, Honduran security forces allowed them to transport cocaine across the country, a major transshipment point for South American cocaine en route to the United States, according to the prosecutor.
Hernandez, who had served as congress president before being elected president in 2013, was re-elected in 2017 for a term that ends in January 2022.