Honduras arrests former president accused of helping smuggle cocaine to the US

Juan Orlando Hernandez
Posted at 7:18 PM, Feb 15, 2022

Police in Honduras arrested former President Juan Orlando Hernández on Tuesday charging him with taking millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers to help them smuggle hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States. The U.S. is now seeking extradition for Hernández.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, police fitted the former president in a bulletproof vest and he was seen in images cuffed at his hands and feet and being led out to the street at his home in a wealthy area of Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. Police drove Hernández in a convoy of black SUVs to a police base where he was put on stage as cameras broadcast the moment his charges were announced.

According to an extradition request obtained by the Guardian, Hernández is accused of being part of a "violent drug-trafficking" conspiracy and is said to have helped smuggle around 500,000 kilos of cocaine since 2004.

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez
Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, center in chains, is shown to the press at the Police Headquarters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. Police arrested Hernandez at his home, following a request by the United States government for his extradition on drug trafficking and weapons charges. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez)

The accusations have reportedly been long-rumored and the indictment comes a little over two weeks after Hernández left office.

As he was arrested on Tuesday, Hernández was wearing a dark blue baseball cap when he was taken into custody where police patted him down before cuffing him. The scene was broadcast on national television.

Hernández was scheduled to attend a court hearing on Wednesday.