US prosecutors tie Honduras president to drug trafficker

NEW YORK (AP) — United States (US) prosecutors said on Tuesday that Honduras’ President met a drug trafficker around 2013 and took USD25,000 in exchange for protecting the trafficker from law enforcement.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York issued a statement referring to President Juan Orlando Hernández only as a “high-ranking Honduran official” or as ‘CC-4,’ a co-conspirator. But in court documents, it identified ‘CC-4’ as President of Honduras and brother of former congressman Juan Antonio Hernández Alvarado, who was convicted on drug charges last year. In previous filing, US prosecutors have described “CC-4” as the winner of the 2013 presidential elections.

It was not clear if the alleged incident involving the trafficker occurred before or after federal congressman Juan Orlando Hernández won the 2013 presidential election. He took office in January 2014.

He has not been charged and did not immediately comment on the allegations, but he has repeatedly denied earlier allegations of connections to traffickers.

US prosecutors arrested Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramires at Miami International Airport on Sunday on charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the US and related weapons charges.

They say Fuentes met with Juan Orlando Hernández on several occasions and spoke of a cocaine laboratory that Fuentes was running near Puerto Cortes on the Atlantic coast. Juan Orlando Hernández expressed interest in access to the lab because it was so close to the port, according to court documents, which did not explain why he was interested.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. PHOTO: AP