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Honduras ex-President Hernández arrested at US request

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS (AP) – Police arrested former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández at his home on Tuesday, following a request by the United States (US) government for his extradition on drug trafficking and weapons charges.

The arrest came less than three weeks after Hernández left office and followed years of allegations by US prosecutors of his alleged links to drug traffickers.

Hernández exited his home flanked by police, shackled at the wrists and ankles, and wearing a bulletproof jacket. He got into a police vehicle and was driven away. A police helicopter waiting nearby took flight and appeared to be escorting the caravan.

The Supreme Court of Justice had designated a judge on Tuesday morning to handle the case and hours later the judge signed an order for Hernández’s arrest, said court spokesman Melvin Duarte. The Security Ministry, which had Hernández’s home surrounded since Monday evening, moved quickly to take him into custody.

Honduran Security Minister Ramón Sabillón, who was fired by Hernández as head of the National Police in 2014, said that Hernández had conspired “with cartels to traffic (drugs) and corrupt many public institutions, which led to social deterioration and undermined the application of justice in Honduras”.

Special Forces Police stand near the house of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. PHOTO: AP