Honduras extradites former president to the US to face drug trafficking charges

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(CNN)Juan Orlando Hernández, the erstwhile president of Honduras, was extradited Thursday to the United States, wherever helium volition look national cause trafficking and firearms possession charges.

The US Justice Department astatine the aforesaid clip unsealed an indictment alleging Hernández engaged successful a conspiracy to support and nett disconnected smugglers moving cocaine from Central and South America into the United States.

The indictment successful US District Court successful the Southern District of New York charges Hernández with cocaine importation conspiracy, possession of instrumentality guns and destructive devices, and conspiracy to person instrumentality guns and destructive devices.

    "As is charged successful the indictment, Hernández abused his presumption arsenic President of Honduras from 2014 done 2022 to run the state arsenic a narco-state," US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday astatine a quality league announcing the charges.

      The Honduran authorities said Hernández, who denied allegations against him, was being flown to New York.

      He was taken from a constabulary peculiar forces situation to an aerial basal successful Tegucigalpa, the capital, for the flight. The handcuffed Hernández, wearing a bluish overgarment and jeans, was escorted by much than a twelve constabulary officers, arsenic seen connected section television.

      Hernández was placed successful a US Drug Enforcement Administration level that took disconnected from Toncontin International Airport astatine astir 4:20 p.m. section time, Honduran authorities said.

        Hernández's wife, Ana Garcia, posted a video of the erstwhile president connected her Twitter account.

        "The information is simply a liberating unit erstwhile it's revealed, it's my prayer, my family's and of thousands of Honduran families, truthful the information is revealed and prevails successful my case. I americium innocent, I person been, and I americium unfairly treated by the process," helium said.

        "You cognize that I worked tirelessly to reconstruct bid successful Honduras. We gave our maximum effort for our nation, and it's unfortunate that those who turned Honduras into 1 of the astir convulsive countries connected Earth, those villains, present privation to beryllium heroes," Hernández said successful the video, whose signaling day is unknown.

        The Honduran Supreme Court past period authorized the extradition. Hernández near bureau successful January aft 8 years arsenic president.

        The erstwhile person was arrested astatine his location connected February 15 astatine the request of the US government. About a period earlier, national prosecutors claimed Hernández helped an alleged cause trafficker present thousands of kilos of cocaine to the US successful speech for hefty bribes. His medication denied the allegation.

        The extradition to the US of the erstwhile manager of the National Police successful Honduras, Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladare, was besides approved by Honduras's Supreme Court of Justice connected Thursday, according to a property merchandise from the Judiciary of Honduras.

        Valladare is besides sought aft by the US District Court successful the Southern District of New York for conspiring to import, manufacture, and administer a controlled substance into the United States and utilizing oregon carrying firearms to import narcotics, among different charges. Valladare has been nether detention since March 10th, portion helium was awaits to beryllium sent to the US, according to the property release.

        Hernández's brother, Tony Hernández, is presently serving a beingness condemnation successful a US national situation for cause trafficking.

        According to tribunal filings successful that case, US authorities judge Hernández was a co-conspirator successful the operation, funneling cause wealth to assistance money his statesmanlike campaigns. Hernández has repeatedly denied those allegations.

        Honduras' Supreme Court approves extradition of erstwhile  president   to the US

        According to the indictment, Hernández partnered with immoderate of the astir convulsive cause trafficking groups, receiving millions of dollars disconnected a web that funneled cocaine done Honduras and into the United States. He utilized the money, the indictment says, to enrich himself, concern his governmental emergence and subsequently stay successful power.

        In exchange, Hernández provided the trafficking organizations with instrumentality enforcement accusation that helped shield the organizations' leaders from transgression investigations, protected leaders from extradition to the US and allowed them to perpetrate unit with virtually nary consequences, US authorities say.

          Garland said that the Justice Department's yearslong probe into cause trafficking organizations person led to "the condemnation of galore Honduran cause traffickers who were liable for the importation of implicit 500,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States and dozens of overseas murders."

          "If you deliberation you tin fell down the powerfulness of your position, you are wrong," DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said during the quality conference.

          CNN's Stefano Pozzebon, Sahar Akbarzai, Valentina Di Donato and Harmeet Kaur contributed to this report. Elvin Sandoval reported from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

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