Honduras ex-President Hernandez on way to US to face drug charges | Politics News

US authorities accuse Juan Orlando Hernandez of receiving tens of millions in bribes as a part of a drug-trafficking scheme.

Honduras has extradited former President Juan Orlando Hernandez to america, the place he is because of face weapons and drug-trafficking expenses.

A US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) aircraft took off with Hernandez aboard from the airport in Tegucigalpa, the capital, on Thursday afternoon. Simply three months after leaving workplace, Hernandez boarded the aircraft in handcuffs.

The extradition comes weeks after Honduras’ prime courtroom in late March cleared the way in which for Hernandez, who served as president from 2014 till earlier this yr, to be extradited to face expenses in a New York courtroom.

US authorities have accused the previous chief of collaborating in a drug-trafficking scheme through which he facilitated the smuggling of some 500 tonnes of medicine – primarily from Colombia and Venezuela – to the US by way of Honduras.

The 53-year-old has denied all the fees, saying they’re a part of a plot orchestrated by enemies who’re making an attempt to get again at him.

However US prosecutors have alleged Hernandez acquired tens of millions of {dollars} from drug traffickers for cover, together with from Mexican narco-kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

As soon as seen as a key ally in Washington’s struggle in opposition to drug trafficking, Hernandez misplaced his immunity after handing energy to Xiomara Castro, the nation’s first feminine president, in late January.

He faces three expenses: conspiracy to import a managed substance into america; utilizing or carrying firearms together with machine weapons; and conspiracy to make use of or carry firearms.

Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo, reporting from Buenos Aires, stated Hernandez was transported by helicopter from a Honduran particular forces’ army base to an airport, the place the DEA aircraft was choosing him up.

“Hernandez was a really shut ally of america. The truth is, he met with Vice President Biden when he was [part of] the Obama administration. He met with former President Donald Trump,” Bo stated. “He was thought of to be doing the fitting factor on the time as a result of he was combating in opposition to unlawful immigration and helping america in that struggle.”

She added that whereas this isn’t the primary time {that a} former chief has been accused of drug trafficking, “it’s very, very vital – particularly [in reference] to america coverage within the area and the struggle on medication”.

Some Hondurans had celebrated within the streets of Tegucigalpa, the capital, when Hernandez was arrested in February. A whole lot of law enforcement officials had surrounded his house after a decrease courtroom decide issued a warrant for his arrest following the US extradition request.

“The authorities are lastly doing what they need to have finished a very long time in the past: penalise and put behind bars the individuals who have robbed this nation,” Aaron Hernandez, a 31-year-old Honduran truck driver, instructed Al Jazeera after the Supreme Court docket’s resolution.

However others has come out in assist of Hernandez, saying they imagine he did nothing flawed.

“If a citizen is tried, they need to be tried in our nation,” the ex-president’s spouse, Ana Garcia, a lawyer, stated as she joined a few dozen protesters exterior the Supreme Court docket in late March to proclaim Hernandez’s innocence.

Many of the allegations in opposition to Hernandez emerged in two trials in New York — these of Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez, the president’s brother and himself a former Honduran congressman, and Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez.

Each males had been a part of a sprawling drug trafficking case filed in 2015 and each got life sentences. Prosecutors labelled Hernandez a “co-conspirator” in the identical case.

In a letter revealed when the Supreme Court docket issued its resolution, Hernandez maintained that he’s harmless and stated he’s the “sufferer of revenge and conspiracy”.

His household additionally stated in a press release at the moment that they had been “prepared and assured that we’ll have the ability to present the US justice system that these accusations are a revenge plot from Honduran narcos whose empire of crime and violence Juan Orlando destroyed”.

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