Tuesday, March 28

The United States Captures Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, Accused of Drug Trafficking

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández has been captured this Tuesday at his home in Tegucigalpa and transferred before a natural judge who ordered his arrest, after the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United States requested the “provisional arrest of a Honduran politician for the purpose of extradition” for drug trafficking, among other crimes.

Hernández has left his house covered with a blue cap after 2:00 p.m. local time and, immediately, the agents who were guarding his home have put a bulletproof vest on him and proceeded to handcuff his hands and feet.

His house was guarded since Monday night

The United States asked Honduras on Monday for the arrest and extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernández, who held office between 2014 and 2022. The surroundings of Hernández’s residence in Tegucigalpa have been under rigorous security since Monday night.

The former president was at his home, in the San Ignacio residential area, on the eastern edge of the Honduran capital, when, according to the former president’s lawyers, he announced that he was “ready to collaborate” and that it was not a “moment easy”. “I wish that on no one,” they assured.

“But also the purpose of this message is that the National Police, through my attorneys, have already received the message that I am ready and ready to collaborate and voluntarily arrive with their accompaniment at the time that the natural judge appointed by the honorable Court Supreme Court decides so, to be able to face this situation and defend myself”.

The former president has surrendered to the police hours after these statements.

The US Embassy in Tegucigalpa said Tuesday that Hernández “participated in a violent drug trafficking conspiracy to receive shipments of multiple tons of cocaine sent to Honduras from Colombia and Venezuela, among other places.”

The drug was moved “by air and sea routes, and to transport the drugs to the west of Honduras, to the border with Guatemala, and finally to the United States,” the diplomatic legation indicated in an extensive note addressed to the Honduran Foreign Ministry in Tegucigalpa, in which he confirmed the request for Hernández’s capture for extradition purposes made by Washington on Monday.

The request of the United States in this sense is the first since the new Government of Honduras took office, with Xiomara Castro as president of the Central American country, on January 27. That day, the eight-year term (2014-2022) of now former President Juan Orlando Hernández ended, whose visa to enter that country had been revoked by the United States since July 2021.

On February 7, Washington declassified the inclusion of Juan Orlando Hernández on its list of corrupt last July, when he was still in office, for his alleged links to drug trafficking.

In a statement, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, then explained that Hernández’s inclusion on the list occurred in the face of “multiple and credible” journalistic reports that indicated that he was allegedly involved in significant acts of “corruption and drug trafficking.” .

“The United States is advancing transparency and accountability in Central America, making public the visa restrictions against former President Juan Orlando Hernández for his corrupt activities. No one is above the law,” Blinken stressed. The brother of the former president, former deputy Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, has been sentenced in the United States in March 2021 to life imprisonment and 30 more years for drug trafficking.

The Security Minister in charge of the operation, Ramón Sabillón, returned to the country with the triumph of Xiomara Castro, after more than five years in exile. “Now there is a woman who was under asylum and ran from here due to enormous violence from the state,” Sabillón said at the time.

On May 17, 2016, Sabillón stated that he was leaving the country to guarantee his life and that of his family. Sabillón was the director of the National Police when in October 2014 the police captured the brothers Miguel Arnulfo and Luis Alonso Valle Valle, from the Valle Valle cartel, accused by the United States of introducing drugs into that country, which would have upset Hernández, according to unofficial versions.