Former President of Honduras extradited to US for drug trafficking

The Honduran Supreme Court unanimously ruled that former President Juan Orlando Hernández should be extradited to the United States and tried in New York for allegedly helping smuggle tons of cocaine in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes, a court spokesman said Monday .

Mr Hernández was arrested by Honduran security forces in February after the US requested his extradition following a three-count indictment on January 27, hours after Mr Hernández left office.

US prosecutors charged him with conspiracy to manufacture and import cocaine and two counts of using weapons, including machine guns, for at least 18 years, according to the Wall Street Journal’s extradition request.

Mr. Hernández has denied involvement in drug trafficking or corruption. The verdict comes after his lawyers appealed to block his extradition.

The court’s 15 judges dismissed the appeal after four hours of deliberation on Monday. It has not been possible to determine when Mr. Hernández will be brought to trial in the USA

The extradition request charges Mr Hernández with helping smuggle more than 550 tons of cocaine between 2004 and 2022 in exchange for millions of dollars to fund his political career, including $1 million for his 2013 presidential bid from Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín. El Chapo” Guzman.

The extradition request accused Mr Hernández of receiving money through his younger brother Juan Antonio Hernández, who was convicted in New York of drug trafficking and is serving a life sentence.

In exchange for the bribe, the extradition request alleges that Mr Guzmán was able to transport tons of cocaine belonging to the Sinaloa cartel through Honduras to the United States

The US extradition request and subsequent arrest of Mr Hernández also came shortly after he was replaced in the country’s presidency by Xiomara Castro, a leftist whose landslide election victory in November was seen as a rejection of the corruption and violence that marked Mr Hernández have coined in the office.

The tiny, impoverished Central American country is one of the most violent in the world, ranking second after Venezuela in the global homicide monitor by the Igarapé Institute, a Brazil-based public safety think tank. Endemic extortion and violence by drug gangs, poverty and corruption have sparked mass migration from Honduras to the United States

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