Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2022. 8:59 pm CST.
Pic Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP
By Aaron Humes: National Public Radio (NPR) reports that police in Honduras have arrested former president Juan Orlando Hernández pending extradition on drug trafficking and weapons charges. The arrest came less than three weeks after Hernández left office and followed years of allegations by U.S. prosecutors of his alleged links to drug traffickers.
A Supreme Court judge signed an order for his arrest, signaling security ministry personnel surrounding his home to move in and take him into custody.
According to security minister Ramón Sabillón, U.S. authorities have accused Hernandez of drug trafficking, using weapons for drug trafficking and conspiracy to use weapons in drug trafficking. He is alleged to have conspired “with cartels to traffic (drugs) and corrupt many public institutions, which led to social deterioration and undermined the application of justice in Honduras.”
Allegations have been made since 2019 when brother Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández was tried and ultimately jailed for life that Hernandez’s political rise was fueled by drug profits.
Hernández released an audio recording via Twitter early Tuesday saying he was “ready and prepared to cooperate and go voluntarily … to face this situation and defend myself” if an arrest order was issued.
Washington has targeted Central America’s endemic corruption as a root cause of migration. 12 U.S. Senators last year supported a bill that sought to isolate Hernandez with sanctions and the denial of weapons that could potentially be used against protestors.
Honduran criminal lawyer Marlon Duarte said that the extradition process against Hernández would not last more than three months. After being informed of the evidence, a hearing would be set to present the evidence and obtain a decision. A ruling against him could be appealed to an appellate panel named by the Supreme Court within days.
The same day he left office, Hernandez was sworn in as Honduras’ representative to the Central American Parliament. One of his lawyers suggested his client had immunity as a re
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