The U.S.’s zero tolerance for foreign crime and corruption took a significant step forward with cooperation from Honduran authorities on alleged cross-border crimes committed by the country’s ex-president during his time in power.
Honduran authorities on Friday seized properties, financial holdings, and other assets belonging to ex-president Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is awaiting extradition to the United States to face charges, the public ministry said.
Following an investigation into Hernandez’s family assets, authorities “executed operations to secure and seize material and immaterial assets, commercial businesses and financial products linked to the family nucleus,” said the ministry in a statement.
Hernandez, who left office earlier this year (January) after eight years in power, was arrested in mid-February after Washington requested his extradition.
A month later, a judge ordered his extradition, which was confirmed this week by the supreme court following an appeal.
U.S. prosecutors have alleged he received millions of dollars from drug traffickers for protection – including from Mexican narco-kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Hernandez faces three charges: conspiracy to import a controlled substance into the United States, use or carry firearms, including machine guns, and conspiracy to use or carry firearms.
He could face a life sentence if convicted.
His former congressman brother Tony Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison in the United States in March 2021 for drug trafficking.
During that trial, the ex-president was implicated in the illicit trade.
Hernandez insists that he is the victim of “revenge by the cartels.”