Honduras has extradited former President Juan Orlando Hernández to the United States to face drug trafficking and weapons charges.
It was a dramatic reversal for a leader once touted by U.S. authorities as a key ally in the war on drugs. An airplane departed Honduras on Thursday with Hernández and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration bound for the United States, where he faces charges in the Southern District of New York. Hernández was arrested at his home in Tegucigalpa in February at the request of U.S. authorities.
U.S. prosecutors have accused Hernández of fueling his political rise with money from drug traffickers. Hernández strongly denies any wrongdoing.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “In return, drug traffickers in Honduras were allowed to operate with virtual impunity,” Garland said. “We allege that Hernández corrupted legitimate public institutions in the country, including parts of the national police, military and national Congress.”
“Drug trafficking fuels violent crime and addiction; it devastates families, and it ravages communities,” Garland said. “The Justice Department is committed to disrupting the entire ecosystem of drug trafficking networks that harm the American people, no matter how far or how high we must go."