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Former president of Honduras on trial for facilitating drug-smuggling

Once a key U.S. ally backed by both the Obama and Trump administrations, he is now facing life in prison if convicted on all counts.
Former president of Honduras on trial for facilitating drug-smuggling
Posted at 5:47 PM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 17:48:39-05

Once considered a top U.S. ally in the war on drugs, former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez  is accused of running his country as a narco-state. He is now facing drug charges in the United States. 

U.S. prosecutors allege Hernandez accepted millions of dollars in bribes from drug cartels in exchange for facilitating a drug-smuggling network that transported illegal drugs from Venezuela and Colombia through routes in Honduras and on to the United States. 

Prosecutors say Hernandez is responsible for sending at least 500 tons of cocaine to U.S. soil, and using money from drug-trafficking organizations to propel his 2013 and 2017 presidential campaigns in Honduras. 

During his presidency, Honduras received more than $50 million in anti-narcotics assistance from the U.S. and tens of millions more in security and military aid.

Once a key U.S. ally, backed by both the Obama and Trump administrations, Hernandez is now facing life in prison if convicted on all counts.

It’s a fate already met by his brother, Tony Hernandez, who was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for similar drug charges in 2021. 

Juan Orlando Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His federal trial in New York is expected to last two to three weeks. 

SEE MORE: Will US sanctions on Mexican cartels make a difference?


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