Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez Detained

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández handed himself in to the authorities to doubtlessly face extradition and drug costs in america, capping a spectacular downfall for one in all Central America’s strongest males.

Mr. Hernández, who led the nation for eight years and stepped down lower than a month in the past, was escorted by safety officers from his house on Tuesday, carrying a bulletproof vest and handcuffs.

“It’s not a straightforward second, I don’t want it on anyone,” Mr. Hernández said in an audio message posted on his Twitter profile at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

“I’m able to current myself voluntarily and defend myself in accordance with the regulation,” he stated in a separate message on Facebook, shortly after.

Police vehicles and black sports activities utility automobiles with tinted home windows surrounded his house in an upmarket gated neighborhood on Monday night time, simply minutes after the nation’s Overseas Ministry revealed that it had obtained an extradition request from america for a politician. Native media confirmed pictures of a balaclava-clad tactical police unit with drawn weapons standing able to enter his entrance door all through the morning.

An extradition request offered to Honduras’s Supreme Courtroom and seen by The New York Instances claims Mr. Hernández had participated in a “violent drug-trafficking conspiracy” that since 2004 had transported 500 tons of cocaine from Venezuela and Colombia to america through Honduras. The doc claims that Mr. Hernández had obtained thousands and thousands of {dollars} in bribes for facilitating the shipments and shielding traffickers from prosecution.

The former president’s brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, is serving a life sentence in america for cocaine trafficking. One other convicted cocaine trafficker who implicated the previous president, Geovanny Fuentes, received a similar sentence last week.

It’s not clear if, or when, Mr. Hernández could also be extradited to america and whether or not he will probably be accused of crimes at house. Honduras’s Supreme Courtroom is anticipated rule on whether or not to grant the extradition request.

A Supreme Courtroom choose who was named on Tuesday to listen to Mr. Hernández’s case is affiliated with the previous president’s occasion and has a historical past of absolving suspects in corruption circumstances, stated Gabriela Castellanos, the top of Nationwide Anti-Corruption Council, an unbiased physique created by congress.

To date, Honduras, which depends closely on American help, has by no means denied a U.S. extradition request, stated Marlon Duarte, a Tegucigalpa-based lawyer who has participated in 5 extradition circumstances. However a case in opposition to a current president has no precedent, and Mr. Hernández retains important assist within the judicial system, he stated.

The authorized battle that may resolve Mr. Hernández’s future might drag on for weeks and even months, stated Mr. Duarte.

“We’re placing the nation’s establishments to the take a look at,” he stated. “We’re about to see if the judicial system is a part of the identical legal construction that the president is accused of making.”

Honduras’s new president, Xiomara Castro, has accused Mr. Hernández of turning the nation right into a “narco-dictatorship.” She was swept to victory in November after promising to overtake the system of corruption and impunity that flourished underneath Mr. Hernández, contributing to a mass exodus of its residents to america.

Nonetheless, the pace of Mr. Hernández’s downfall has stunned most of Hondurans. He’s a member of the Central American Parliament, which technically grants him immunity from prosecution, and his political occasion stays a serious pressure in Honduras’s congress.

Oscar Lopez contributed reporting from Mexico Metropolis. Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez Detained

Fry Electronics Team

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