International

Former Honduras president to be extradited to US to face drug trafficking charges

CORRECTION: This story was updated March 29 to note that Hernández’s party lost the 2021 presidential election in Honduras. 

 

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández will be extradited to the U.S. to face charges of drug trafficking, a court ruled this week.

The Honduras Supreme Court unanimously authorized the move on Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The extradition request was accepted March 16 by a Honduras judge but was challenged by Hernández at the country’s Supreme Court.

U.S. prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have accused Hernández of conspiracy to manufacture and import cocaine and have also charged him with two counts of using weapons.

They allege Hernández was in possession of machine guns and smuggled more than 550 tons of cocaine, belonging to the Sinaloa cartel, into the U.S. over at least 18 years in exchange for bribes worth millions of dollars.

Hernández has been tied to former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who allegedly paid Hernández $1 million toward his 2013 run for president in exchange for help smuggling cocaine.

Hernández is also accused of receiving money from his younger brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, who is currently serving a life sentence in a New York prison for a conviction of drug trafficking.

Juan Orlando Hernández has denied the charges against him.

Hernández’s ruling National Party lost the presidency in November to leftist Xiomara Castro, the first female president of Honduras, who took office on Jan. 27.

The date of Hernández’s extradition has yet to be announced.

International