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Honduran ex-president accused of facilitating drug smuggling

Honduran police have arrested former President Juan Orlando Hernandez for one month following a request by the United States government for his extradition. In the United States, Hernandez is accused of facilitating drug smuggling from Colombia and Venezuela via Honduras to the US.

The former president exited his home in Tegucigalpa flanked by police, shackled at the wrists and wearing a bulletproof jacket.

A scuffle broke out in front of the justice ministry where Hernandez’s first hearing took place.

According to Reuters, U.S. authorities believe that between 2004 and 2022, Hernandez was involved in an operation to transfer tonnes of cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela via Honduras to the US. The politician received millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for protecting smugglers from criminal prosecution.

For his part, Hernandez denies all charges and promises to cooperate with the investigation.

Hernandez’s lawyers asked the court to choose a measure of restraint in the form of house arrest.

The court scheduled an evidentiary hearing on March 16.

Last year, a US court sentenced Hernandez’s brother and former congressman, Juan Antonio Hernandez, to life in prison for drug trafficking

Juan Orlando Hernandez governed Honduras  for eight years until January 2022.