Former Honduras President Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison

( – Following his conviction in a U.S. court of drug trafficking crimes, Juan Orlando Hernández, the former president of Honduras, has been sentenced to spend 45 years in prison.

In March this year, Hernandez was found guilty of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the country, as well as for possession of “destructive” firearms which included machine guns. He was put on trial at a Manhattan federal court for two weeks, following his extradition to the U.S. from Honduras after the U.S. Department of Justice slapped drug and firearms charges against him in 2022. Hernandez has continued to maintain his innocence, denying all the charges against him, and saying during his sentencing that he has been “wrongly and unjustly accused.”

According to prosecutors, Hernandez was complicit in efforts by drug cartels to smuggle illegal drugs into the U.S., and during his tenure, facilitated the smuggling of as much as 400 tons of cocaine through Honduras into the U.S. Furthermore, prosecutors alleged that the former Honduran president received millions of dollars in payoffs, part of which he redirected to fund his political career in his home country.

Serving as Honduras’ president from 2014 to 2022, the Justice Department said that Hernandez “protected and enriched the drug traffickers in his inner circle,” and even used Honduras’ extradition treaty with the U.S. to send rival drug traffickers to America while protecting those who were willing to work with him. The Justice Department also said that as president, Hernandez even utilized members of the Honduran National Police as protection personnel for cocaine shipments.

A statement from the office of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that during his tenure as president of Honduras, Hernandez wielded his political power to effectively make Honduras into a “narco-state” where drug traffickers and drug cartels were able to operate and enrich himself and themselves, even though the use of violent means, without fear of lawful repercussions.

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