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10 Jan, 2021 09:43

Honduran president wanted to ‘shove drugs right up the noses of gringos,’ US prosecutors allege

Honduran president wanted to ‘shove drugs right up the noses of gringos,’ US prosecutors allege

Motions have been filed by US federal prosecutors alleging that the president of Honduras took bribes from drug lords and has even sent in the country's military to guard a cocaine laboratory.

The motions were filed on Friday with the southern district of New York against Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, a suspected drug trafficker from Honduras. Ramirez was arrested in Florida last year and now is facing drugs and weapon charges.

The prosecutors alleged the suspect has been a part of a high-profile conspiracy to flood the US with cocaine, going straight up to the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez. While the official was not explicitly named in the motions, being referred to only as CC-4 (co-conspirator no. 4), details provided clearly identify him. The documents referred to the CC-4 as the country’s president, and also named his brother, Juan Antonio ('Tony') Hernandez, a convicted drug trafficker.

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“CC-4 said that he wanted to make the US Drug Enforcement Administration think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition and ‘shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos’,” the motions read.

Ramirez, who allegedly produced “hundreds of kilograms a month” of cocaine and had several people killed to protect his business, was “excited” to have protection from Hernandez and agreed to work both with him and his brother to get the drugs into the US, the documents claim. After receiving the high-profile support, the defendant allegedly received military-grade equipment and direct protection from the country’s military.

“By late 2013, the defendant partnered directly with CC-4 and high-ranking officials in the Honduran military,” the documents state.

The prosecutors said they have a witness ready to testify “that they and other drug-traffickers were paying massive bribes to CC-4 in exchange for protection from law enforcement and extradition to the United States.” All in all, Hernandez is believed to have received around $1 million in bribes for providing protection to the drug-trafficking business.

Hernandez was elected president of Honduras back in 2013 and got re-elected for a second term in 2017. He has consistently denied any involvement in the drug business, even after his brother was convicted on trafficking charges in 2019. The case against Tony Hernandez implicated the president as well, with the prosecutors alleging that some $1.5 million in drug proceeds had helped him get elected in the first place.

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The president has been portraying himself as the one who combats illicit drugs and has even alleged that traffickers have been trying to frame him to take revenge. Despite the new allegations, no charges against the president have been brought by the US, as its Justice Department typically does not file charges against incumbent foreign leaders.

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