Honduras to Extradite ex President Suspected of Drug Trafficking to US
About a month after his arrest, the Honduras Supreme Court ratified the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado to the United States where he could face a life sentence if convicted on drug trafficking and firearms charges.
According to U.S. authorities, Hernández oversaw a violent drug trafficking network that functioned out of Central American countries, especially Honduras. His network is believed to have transported more than 500,000 kilograms of cocaine through Honduras to the United States since 2004. This network used air and maritime routes wich it established with Colombia and Venezuela.
Two other complaints are related to the use and possession of firearms, including machine guns, in connection with the drug trafficking activity.
Hernández held office from 2014 to 2022 and has denied the allegations. In one of the U.S. investigations, authorities have alleged that the former president once said he wanted to “stuff drugs up the gringos’ noses”.
Hernández’s lawyers have released his handwritten letter where he states that “in the end I conclude on the possibility that by facing charges for three life sentences I could become a living dead.”
“This is revenge from the cartels. It is an orchestrated plot so that no government will confront them again,” Hernández wrote.
Before a date can be set for his transfer to the United States, the former president remains in detention, where he was placed on February 15 after he was captured by the police at U.S. request.
U.S. pressure and support have prompted Honduras to arrest and extradite several politicians and high-ranking officials allegedly involved in drug trafficking over the past few years. Hernández’s brother, sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking last year, is just one of the examples.
Media are speculating that a DEA plane will land in Honduras on Thursday or Friday to pick up Hernández. By the end of this week, he is expected to become the first former president of a Latin American country to be extradited to the United States.
Earlier this month, the former National Police Chief Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, alias El Tigre, was arrested on charges related to the Hernández illicit drug trafficking network.