Federal prosecutors accused Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández of conspiring to traffic cocaine into the United States in a New York court Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Gutwillig said an accountant witnessed the Honduran president speaking about the plans to move the cocaine with a drug trafficker, according to the Associated Press. Hernández allegedly said he wanted to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos.”
Gutwillig said Hernández and drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez wanted to “send as much cocaine as possible to the United States.” Fuentes Ramírez was charged with drug trafficking and arms possession, but Hernández has yet to be charged. (RELATED: Snorkeler Finds $1.5 Million Worth Of Cocaine Floating In Florida Keys)
Fuentes Ramírez is accused of using powerful political connections in Honduras to move drugs, including the alleged 2013 and 2014 meetings with the now-president. “His operations thrived because of his connections. Mayors, congressmen, military generals, police chiefs, even the current president of Honduras,” Gutwillig argued.
Prosecutors said Fuentes Ramírez bribed Hernández with $25,000. Defense attorneys say the accountant isn’t credible, and accuse the U.S. of approving his asylum application in return for testifying.
Hernández’s brother Juan Antonio Hernández was convicted in 2019 for drug trafficking. During that trial, it was alleged the current president accepted $1 million in bribes from infamous drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
1/6 Lo que sería noticia de verdad es si los reportajes sobre los Cachiros y los demás dejarán de ignorar el hecho evidente:
que muchos titulares se basan en testimonios falsos de narcos cuyas mentiras son para vengarse, reducir sus penas y recibir otros beneficios.
— Juan Orlando H. (@JuanOrlandoH) March 8, 2021
Hernández denies any involvement with drug traffickers and said on Twitter he’s been a strong opponent of the drug trade in Honduras. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Brian Fairbanks testified Tuesday that the president’s phone number and email were found on Fuentes Ramírez’s cell phone.
Democratic Senators filed a bill last month calling on President Joe Biden to sanction the Honduran president, according to the AP. Hernández previously deployed military forces against anti-corruption protesters, prompting the Senators to call for the suspension of some aid to the country.