Former Honduran President Charged in US for Drug Trafficking and Weapons Offenses

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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What You Need to Know: 

Former President of Honduras, 55-year old Juan Orlando Hernández, who served in office from 2014-2022 was convicted on Friday the 8th of March by a Manhattan Federal Court on three counts of cocaine importation and weapons offenses. 

According to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, “Juan Orlando Hernández abused his position as President of Honduras to operate the country as a narco-state where violent drug traffickers were allowed to operate with virtual impunity, and the people of Honduras and the United States were forced to suffer the consequences.”

The Details:

Hernández was arrested in Honduras shortly after leaving office in 2022, he was then extradited to the US to face charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during, and possessing machine guns in furtherance of, the cocaine-importation conspiracy, and conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during, and possessing machine guns in furtherance of, the cocaine-importation conspiracy.

Court documents allege that between 2004 and 2022, Hernández funneled over 400 tons of cocaine worth millions of dollars into the United States, using the profits to further fund his political rise and as President paid millions of dollars of bribes to opposition political parties as well as supported the extraditions of drug traffickers who threatened his monopoly on the Honduran drug trade.

The United States’ Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs said in a statement: “Hernández selectively upheld extraditions by using his executive power to support extraditions to the United States of certain drug traffickers who threatened his grip on power, and promising drug traffickers who paid him and followed his instructions that they would remain in Honduras. In addition, Hernández and his co-conspirators abused Honduran institutions, including the Honduran National Police and Honduran Army, to protect and grow their conspiracy. Among other things, members of the conspiracy used heavily armed Honduran National Police officers to protect their cocaine loads as they transited through Honduras. Members of the conspiracy also turned to violence and murder to protect and grow their drug trafficking enterprise, attacking and murdering rival traffickers and those who threatened their grip on the Honduran cocaine trade.”

Hernández is set to be sentenced on June 26th of this year, with his charges carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years and a max sentence of life imprisonment, while his weapons charges carry a mandatory sentence of 30 consecutive years in prison.