Things That Matter

After Helping The US Catch Dozens of Criminals, This Former Drug Lord Now Faces Deportation

The U.S has a massive criminal enforcement network across the world. From Europe to Australia and across Latin America, the United States works with local governments (among others) to play the part of international police force.

This huge network has helped bring down some of the world’s largest criminal organizations. But, often times, it’s not the U.S. officers making the biggest sacrifices – it’s the criminals who join forces with the FBI or DEA as part of a plea bargain. However, those plea agreements don’t always work out in the end.

The leader of one of Honduras’ largest cartels, helped the U.S. bring down serious criminals.

USDEA / DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

According to report by VICE, Valle has a long history of helping U.S. authorities. For example, just months after her arrest, her brothers were extradited to the United States to face charges related to drug trafficking. Meanwhile in Honduras, authorities seized more than 50 properties owned by Los Valles.

Even her own son and daughter weren’t immune. Her son Gerson eventually turned himself in to U.S. authorities after years on the run thanks to his mother. And that came after her daughter was arrested on money laundering charges. Her brothers and son have all since been convicted on drug-related charges.

And although it hasn’t been confirmed, many contribute the arrest of Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez – a former congressman and brother of Honduras’ current president – on drug trafficking charges.

Needless to say, this woman has helped U.S. authorities aggressively pursue the dismantling of a massive drug network (along with its ties in the US) across Latin America.

Her criminal empire was especially adept at building coalitions among cartels.

Credit: @AleRyeesH / Twitter

According to court documents, Los Valles was based in Western Honduras – near the Guatemalan border. The family allegedly moved tens of thousands of kilos of cocaine every month – taking the valuable drugs from Colombia, through Honduras, and into the United States using speedboats, submarines and small airplanes

Her organization often worked together alongside Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel – formerly headed by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán (now serving life in a United States prison).

As the kinder face of the organization, Valle was focused more on finances and logistics instead of violence. In fact, she was often sent to broker new relationships with the country’s criminal and business elites. Sources close to her said she also helped construct churches and gave money to charity during her time in criminal power in Honduras.

Valle was arrested on arrival in Miami by United States law enforcement back in 2014.

Credit: US Dept of Justice

Valle served four and a half years of an 11-year prison sentence and was then realeased. But shortly after being released from prison, she was picked up by ICE and sent to a detention center in Atlanta. Her asylum claim to remain in the United States was denied—a decision she is currently appealing.

Now, after more than six years helping U.S. officials – she’s facing deportation back to Honduras, and likely death.

Credit: Benicia Alvarado / Getty

Since her arrest and plea deal in 2014, Valle has been acting as a key witness for the U.S. She’s helped the government arrest some of the strongest drug lords in the region, including her own organization. If she’s sent back to Honduras – she faces an almost certain death.

“There is a hunt on right now in my country for people who collaborated and then co-operated [with law enforcement] in drug trafficking cases,” former Army Capt. Santos Rodriguez Orellana told VICE by phone from Honduras.

It’s death sentence for her,” according to Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations at the DEA, who also spoke with VICE News.

He added: “Her chances of survival in Honduras are slim to none. Honduras is, without question, a narco state. The highest levels within the political spectrum along with the military and police are in the pockets of drug traffickers. Given the fact that she cooperated in key drug trafficking trials, she is not likely to survive in Honduras. She is going into a fiery cauldron and is definitely going to get burned.”

Her case shows why so few people see the U.S. legal system as a partner – they become disposable just like that.

Credit: US Dept. Of Justice / DEA Task Force LA

As if it wasn’t dangerous enough for Valle to return to Honduras with a network of criminals hunting for their revenge, there’s a hunt for her at the highest levels of government.

Honduras Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Valle faces charges of money laundering in Honduras, and there is a warrant for her arrest. Her arrival in Honduras wont go unnoticed and being imprisoned will offer her little protection from violence.

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President Biden Places A 100-Day Moratorium On Deportations With New Executive Order

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President Biden Places A 100-Day Moratorium On Deportations With New Executive Order

Sean Rayford / Getty Images

As soon as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, many across the country were ready to hold him accountable for the many promises he made on the campaign trail. Knowing the immense pressure he is under to keep these promises, President Biden wasted no time in getting to work through a flurry of executive actions in his first day on the job.

From the Oval Office, President Biden issues no less than 15 executive actions that impact everything from Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ to LGBTQ discrimination and immigration reform.

President Biden has placed a hold on most deportations for the next 100 days.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would pause deportations of certain noncitizens for 100 days starting on January 22, delivering on one of President Joe Biden’s key campaign promises on immigration policy. 

The agency said in a statement that the moratorium will allow it to “review and reset enforcement priorities” after the Trump administration sought to ensure that no undocumented immigrants — including families and longtime US residents — were safe from deportation.

“The pause will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” the agency said.

So, who will be safe from deportation for the next 100-days under President Biden’s moratorium?

The 100-day deportation suspension applies to any noncitizen living in the interior of the United States, with some limited exceptions, not to people who recently crossed the border. Terrorists and suspected terrorists as well as anyone who engages in espionage or poses a threat to national security can still be removed, according to the memo

Also, noncitizens who entered the U.S. after Nov. 1 and people who volunteer to be removed can also be deported. The memo also says noncitizens can be removed if the director of ICE makes the determination they should be removed after consultation with other ICE officials.

The DHS memo also outlined who will be prioritized for deportation once the moratorium is over.

We’re also getting a better understanding of what will be President Biden’s enforcement priorities, which seem to reflect the president’s promises on the campaign trail that he would only deport people who have been convicted of a felony and explicitly not people with a DUI. Obama, by contrast, had deported immigrants with DUIs and minor offenses.

Most migrant advocacy groups praised the move even if they’re still raising lingering concerns.

It will give people fighting their deportation cases a chance to possibly remain in the U.S. and prevent more families from being separated while awaiting an overhaul of the immigration system including a legalization program for undocumented people that Biden has also promised, Sandra Solis, an organizer with the Phoenix-based Puente Movement, told AZ Central.

“This gives a small light at the end of the tunnel for folks of perhaps being able to fight their cases,” she said. “We are happy that right now there is a big pause but that is also where the organizing comes in where we have to put the agenda on the table of really getting more from this administration, not just the 100 days, but a pathway to citizenship.”

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US Prosecutors Allege That Honduran President Hernández Said He Wanted to ‘Shove Drugs Up the Noses of Gringos’

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US Prosecutors Allege That Honduran President Hernández Said He Wanted to ‘Shove Drugs Up the Noses of Gringos’

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.

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