Crime & Justice

Honduran high court OKs ex-president’s extradition to US on drug charges

Tegucigalpa, Mar 28 (EFE).- The Honduran Supreme Court of Justice on Monday granted the US request to extradite former President Juan Orlando Hernandez to face three charges linked to drug trafficking and weapons usage.

The announcement was made by high court spokesman Melvin Duarte, who said that the magistrates voted unanimously to grant the extradition request.

He added that “after analyzing all the grievances and the elements that were presented by the expert defense in the appeal, (the full court) ruled that the appeal motion is not valid, meaning that the decision of the (lower court) judge to grant the extradition of citizen Juan Orlando Hernandez is confirmed.”

Duarte went on to say that “by a unanimous vote the extradition is granted relating to charge number one, and by a majority of votes, with a result of 13-2, in relation to charges two and three that were formulated in the Southern District of New York court.”

The US has filed three charges against Hernandez, the first for conspiring to import a controlled and illegal substance, namely cocaine, into the US, as well as to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance on board an aircraft registered in the US.

The second charge facing Hernandez is for using or carrying firearms, or helping and instigating the use and possession of “machine guns and destructive devices,” and using the weapons to back up the conspiracy to import narcotics detailed in charge No. 1.

Charge No. 3 refers to engaging in a conspiracy to use or carry firearms to support the conspiracy to import illegal narcotics, according to a report by the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa, which sent the US request to the Honduran Foreign Ministry on Feb. 14.

Hernandez, 53, said Monday in a published letter that he is “innocent” of the charges and a “victim of revenge and a conspiracy,” adding that “I am sure that God will give me justice.”

EFE gr-ac/lll/bp

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