Ex-Honduran president sentenced to 45 years for trafficking medication to U.S. | EUROtoday

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NEW YORK — Former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández was sentenced by a U.S. decide on Wednesday to 45 years in a federal jail and an $8 million fantastic for operating his Central American nation as a “narco-state” that shaped a important passageway for South American cocaine flowing to the United States.

Hernández, 55, who was convicted of federal drug and weapons expenses in March, constructed his political profession on hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in bribes from traffickers in Honduras and Mexico, U.S. prosecutors stated. During his two phrases as president from 2014 to 2022, they stated, he protected key traffickers from extradition and prosecution. He allegedly helped transfer a minimum of 400 tons of cocaine to the United States.

During his presidency, the U.S. authorities portrayed him as an ally. In 2015, then-vice president Joe Biden hosted him on the White House. In December 2019, then-president Donald Trump praised him for his cooperation, saying the nations had been “stopping drugs at a level that has never happened.”

But the Justice Department was investigating him as a part of a broader probe into drug trafficking allegations in opposition to the Honduran political elite. His brother, Tony Hernández, was convicted of federal drug trafficking expenses in 2019 and sentenced to life in jail. Prosecutors named Juan Orlando Hernández an unindicted co-conspirator in that case.

At the request of the United States, Honduran police arrested Hernández inside weeks of his departure from workplace in January 2022, and he was extradited to face federal expenses in New York.

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His prosecution has raised questions on whether or not the U.S. authorities ignored his alleged legal actions as they sought his assist in slowing migration towards the southwest border.

Former U.S. diplomats have denied that. They’ve stated the case illustrates Washington’s bureaucratic dysfunction: State Department officers had been left at midnight concerning the Justice Department investigation.

Hernández has maintained his innocence. He has accused jailed drug sellers of giving false testimony in opposition to him in change for diminished sentences; he’s anticipated to attraction.

“Mr. Hernández did more to combat narcotrafficking in Honduras than any Honduran President before or since,” his lawyer, Renato Stabile, wrote in a request for the obligatory minimal sentence, 40 years in jail.

Federal prosecutors had requested a life sentence.

“As a direct result of the defendant’s crimes, Honduras became one of the world’s largest transshipment points for United States-bound cocaine and one of the most violent places in the world,” they stated of their written submission.

Hernández’s conservative National Party assumed the presidency of the nation of 10 million in 2009 after leftist president Mel Zelaya was toppled in a coup. But the occasion was weakened by corruption and drug-trafficking scandals. It misplaced the presidency in 2021 — to Zelaya’s spouse, Xiomara Castro.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/26/honduras-president-juan-orlando-hernandez-sentenced/