Photo via Getty
They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that saying happens to be true. New reports from federal prosecutors in New York have come out that implicate Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in drug trafficking, embezzlement, and fraud.
For years, Honduras and the United States have publicly touted themselves as partners in global the war on drugs. But it seems that, privately, President Hernández felt differently.
Prosecutors allege that Hernández said that he wanted to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos”.
Federal prosecutors say that Hernández “said that he wanted to make the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition.”
The allegations against President Hernández are part of a larger drug trafficking case prosecutors have against, Geovanny Fuentes, a prolific Honduran trafficker whom authorities arrested in Miami.
Fuentes alleges that President Hernandez accepted bribes in exchange for protecting a cocaine laboratory and drug shipments headed towards the U.S. They say President Juan Orlando Hernández used his nation’s armed forces to protect huge shipments of cocaine in exchange for hefty bribes.
The case also alleges that Hernandez funneled aid money from the U.S. to non-governmental organizations.
The Honduran president isn’t explicitly named in the documents, but is instead referred to as “co-conspirator 4”. But the documents reference his political position as well as his relationship to his brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, who was also convicted of drug smuggling in 2019.
It’s worth mentioning that the 2019 case against Hernández’s brother also named President Hernández as a co-conspirator. That case alleged that President Hernández had accepted approximately $1 million in bribes from El Chapo.
President Hernández is denying the allegations and claiming that they are retaliations by cartel lords for his hardline stance against drug trafficking.
Recently, his office tweeted out: “The claim that Pres. Hernández supposedly accepted drug money from Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez, or gave protection or coordination to drug traffickers is 100% false, and appears to be based on lies of confessed criminals who seek revenge and to reduce their sentences.”
But at home, Hondurans seemed to have lost faith in their president. In fact, many are suspicious of his shady connections and seemingly never-ending scandals. Some Hondurans are reportedly worried that President Hernández may try to “illegally extend” his time in office in order to avoid prosecution by the United States”.
As of now, the prospects of him being prosecuted by the Trump administration are dubious at best.
Hernández and Trump have historically had a cozy relationship based on how fervently the Honduran president supported Trump’s strict immigration policies.
“[Indictment] will probably depend on the political will or political decision of the incoming Biden administration,” said InSight Crime senior investigator Hector Silva to Vice.
Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org