US court sentences Honduran president's brother to life in drug case

The brother of the Honduras president, Juan Orlando Hernández, has been sentenced via a US court docket to lifestyles in jail after he used to be convicted over what prosecutors described as “state-sponsored drug trafficking”.

Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, a former Honduran congressman, used to be sentenced in Ny federal court docket via US district pass judgement on P Kevin Castel, who additionally ordered him to forfeit $138m.

Hernández used to be convicted in October 2019 of fees that carried a compulsory minimal sentence of 40 years in jail.

Assistant US legal professional Matthew Laroche informed the pass judgement on that Hernández for 15 years fueled a flood of cocaine shipments into america via paying hundreds of thousands of greenbacks to best Honduran officers like his brother.

“[Tony Hernandez] conspired along with his brother, the president of Honduras. He brought about brutal acts of violence. He funneled drug cash into Nationwide birthday celebration campaigns in change for guarantees of coverage … that is state backed drug trafficking,” Laroche mentioned.

Hernández’s legal professional, Peter Brill, had argued for leniency, pronouncing america must center of attention anti-drug trafficking efforts at the voracious urge for food of its voters for medicine.

In court docket papers, prosecutors had argued for a lifestyles sentence, bringing up Tony Hernández’s prison historical past.

His brother served because the chief of Honduras’ congress earlier than assuming the presidency in January 2014.

“The defendant used to be a Honduran congressman who, at the side of his brother Juan Orlando Hernández, performed a management position in a violent, state backed drug trafficking conspiracy,” prosecutors wrote in court docket papers.

“Over a 15-year duration, the defendant corrupted the democratic establishments of Honduras to complement himself via transporting a minimum of 185,000kg of cocaine – a staggering quantity of poison that he helped import into america,” prosecutors wrote. They are saying he additionally offered system weapons and ammunition to drug traffickers, a few of which got here from Honduras’ army, and regulated drug laboratories in Colombia and Honduras.

“Between 2004 and 2019, the defendant secured and disbursed hundreds of thousands of greenbacks in drug-derived bribes to [his brother] Juan Orlando Hernández, former Honduran president Porfirio Lobo Sosa and different politicians related to Honduras’s Nationwide birthday celebration,” prosecutors mentioned.

They allege that amongst the ones bribes used to be $1m from infamous Mexican capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to Juan Orlando Hernández.

FBI particular agent in fee Wendy C Woolcock mentioned: “Exploiting a high-ranking place in govt to wield the facility of the state to fortify drug trafficking is as nefarious because it comes. The conviction and sentencing of Tony Hernandez is a reminder there’s no place robust sufficient to protect you from dealing with justice while you violate US drug rules via sending heaps of cocaine to our nation.”

Juan Orlando Hernández has again and again denied any ties to drug traffickers, as has Lobo, whose son is recently serving a 24-year drug trafficking sentence in america.

In court docket on Tuesday, Tony Hernández seemed faded and downcast. When the defendant used to be given a possibility to talk, he attempted to persuade the pass judgement on that he’d been denied a good trial because of an insufficient defence staff who slightly answered to his emails.

“I think I’ve been lied to,” he mentioned via a translator.

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