October 5, 2022

Former Honduran president pleads not guilty to federal drug trafficking and firearm charges

2 min read

Indictment in US District Court of the The Southern District of New York has charged Hernandez with conspiracy to import cocaine, possessing machine guns and destructive devices, and conspiracy to possess machine guns and destructive devices.

U.S. Attorney General Merck Garland said in April that “as indicted, Hernandez abused his position as President of Honduras from 2014 to 2022 to run the country as a narco state.” Coins. ”

About a month before his arrest, U.S. federal prosecutors claimed that Hernandez helped smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States in exchange for a large bribe to an alleged drug smuggler. His administration has denied the allegations.

On Tuesday, Hernandez, dressed as a Navy Blue prisoner, entered the New York courtroom and nodded to the audience, including journalists and members of the public. As he walked out, several members of the public shouted, “Killer,” “Time to repent, JOH,” and “Rat.”

Hernandez was listening through an interpreter. When asked how he would apply, he replied in Spanish, “No offense, your honor.”

Hernandez is taken to Tegucigalpa with members of the police special forces before being handed over.

The former Honduran leader resigned in January after eight years as president.

At the time of his extradition, the U.S. Department of Justice also dropped an indictment accusing Hernandez of trying to protect and exploit cocaine smugglers from Central and South America to the United States. Is engaged in conspiracy.

Hernandez’s brother, Tony Hernandez, is currently serving a life sentence in a US federal prison for drug trafficking.

According to court filings in the case, U.S. officials believe Hernandez was a conspirator in the operation, raising money to fund his presidential campaign. Hernandez has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The next hearing for Hernandez is set for September 28. Castell said he expects a jury to be adjourned until early next year and that a provisional date of January 17, 2023, be set for the trial to begin.

CNN’s Carol Suarez, Hannah Rabinowitz, Bertha Ramos, Elon Sandoval and Sehar Akbarzai contributed to the reporting.

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