El Chapo gave $1 million to ex-president of Honduras: witness  

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By LatAm Reports Editorial Team

Joaquín El Chapo, Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa cartel, also sentenced to life imprisonment in the United States, paid for that bribe, said the witness who vanguled that the Honduran authorities never seized drugs, even though he managed to introduce about 250 tons in the United States.

The former president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, received at least a million dollars, said one of the first two prosecution witnesses in the trial in New York, where he is accused of conspiring to traffic drugs and trafficking and possession of weapons.

The mayor of El Paraíso, Copán, Alexander Chande, Ardon, convicted in the United States of drug trafficking, said that at a private meeting “about about 2009, he met with the then deputy of the National Party of Honduras, and gave him a million dollars to help him politically and financially.

“He helped me not investigate the prosecution in return,” he said.

Joaquín El Chapo, Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa cartel, also sentenced to life imprisonment in the United States, paid for that bribe, said the witness who vanguled that the Honduran authorities never seized drugs, even though he managed to introduce about 250 tons in the United States.

There were more payments, but he did not specify the amount “the amount was more,” he said, “before specifying that he was working with Tony Hernández, brother of the former president, also sentenced to life imprisonment in the United States, as well as his partner Geovanny Fuentes.

The first witness of the prosecution, José Sánchez, who for 15 years was an accountant of the rice company Graneros Nacional, recalled seeing in the offices of owner Jorge Jarufe, Hernández and Fuentes twice to talk about drugs and protect those who provided it.

We’re going to put the drug in his nose (to the Americans) and they’re not going to notice, he said the defendant told Fuentes in his presence, as he had already repeated in previous trials to members of the network.

Without relation to drug trafficking, beyond depositing money in the bank, complying with orders – from his boss, he said that in 2015 he decided to leave the country together with his family, for fear, something would happen to them, after having disseminated images of these encounters.

The 55-year-old former president’s defense, who listened to the accusations without being changed, tried to distort his statement by accusing him of having participated in a money laundering scheme and questioning his honesty by pointing out that four years after living in the United States illegally, had applied for political asylum and began collaborating with the justice system.

He protected the narcos in private.

In the pleadings, prosecutor David Robles accused Hernandez of publicly fighting drug trafficking and privately protecting drug traffickers.

“This powerful politician kept in public a speech in which he said he was fighting drug trafficking and through the back door he associated himself with drug traffickers in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes,” he said.

This is, he added, a case of power, corruption and massive cocaine trafficking.

The New York prosecutor’s office accuses the 55-year-old lawyer and politician of having protected a network that sent more than 500 tons of cocaine to the United States between 2004 and 2022.

If found guilty of all charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, such as his brother and Fuentes.

Although he is not obliged to do so, the defense, in an attempt to play the whole, foresees the former president to take the stand.

“There is no obligation to make this decision now,” advised Judge Kevin Castel, who is investigating the case.

– It’s avenge.

The defense bases its defense on weakening the credibility of protected witnesses in exchange for prison benefits, who act out of revenge on the person who sealed their fate.

When Hernandez assumed the presidency in 2014, Honduras was the world’s capital of homicides and 87% of the drugs that arrived in the United States passed through that Central American country.

This decreased by 50% and 80%, respectively, during his government, which promoted “dozens of laws,” to fight this scourge, such as anti-money laundering legislation or complying with the extradition treaty – which has facilitated the sending of 38 people to the United States since 2014 accused of drug trafficking – according to his lawyers.

Added to this is the creation of a special force in the police to combat drug trafficking, a policy that earned him even the praise of Washington during Donald Trump’s administration (2017-2021).

They won’t see any video of receiving money, emails, messages or any personal wealth signals confirming the prosecution’s accusations, said lawyer Renato Stabile.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Salvador