After a 12-hour hearing on Tuesday, Honduras’ Supreme Court Judge Edwin Ortez authorized the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernandez (2014-2022) to the U.S. over drug trafficking and weapon use charges.
Int’l Commission Against Impunity to Be Installed in Honduras
The resolution establishes that U.S. authorities cannot try Hernandez for crimes that differ from those presented in their accusation or date before 2012, when a reform to the Honduran Constitution authorized the extradition of nationals to the United States over drug trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism charges.
His defense lawyers will appeal Ortez's decision because the indictments filed by U.S. federal prosecutors, including a sworn statement made by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, are not "sufficient evidence" to involve Hernandez in drug trafficking activities.
"We do not doubt that this case against Hernandez is a revenge plot from drug dealers whom his administration apprehended and extradited to the U.S.,” former first lady Ana Garcia stated.
While the Supreme Court processes the appeal against Hernandez’s extradition, he will remain in pre-trial detention in the National Police's “Cobras” Special Forces Unit.
The U.S. justice accuses Hernandez of trafficking 500,000 kilograms of cocaine between 2004 and 2022, participating in a conspiracy to receive cocaine shipments, and using firearms in that plot.
Hernandez is the first former president of Honduras to be extradited by the U.S. over drug trafficking charges. On March 31, 2021, Hernandez's brother "Tony" was sentenced to life imprisonment for the same crime in a Manhattan court.