A US court sentenced the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras to life imprisonment for drug trafficking.
Former Congressman Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez was convicted of smuggling large amounts of cocaine into the United States in October 2019.
Prosecutors said he bribed law enforcement officers and contributed to at least two murders.
President Juan Orlando Hernandez called his brother’s decision “outrageous.”
Tony Hernandez’s lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.
Who is Tony Hernandez?
The 42-year-old was a member of the National Party’s parliament from 2014 to 2018.
He was arrested in Miami in November 2018 for using government relations to smuggle cocaine into the United States through Honduras.
Prosecutors said his career in drug trafficking began in 2004 when he began providing information on police and military movements to Honduras traffickers.
By 2008, Hernandez operated its own cocaine lab in Colombia, producing large amounts of drugs. Some of them were engraved with his initials.
According to court documents, Hernandez was “involved in all stages of drug trafficking,” bribed law enforcement officers to protect drug shipments, arranged heavy-duty security for cocaine shipments, and Mediated large-scale bribes from major drug traffickers to powerful politicians.
Matthew La Roche, assistant US prosecutor, said Tony Hernandez was “greedy” and turned to drug trafficking.
“I can’t point out poverty, lack of opportunity, or the need to support a family,” La Roche said.
Judge Kevin Castel said Tony Hernandez’s life imprisonment plus 30 years was “extremely valuable.”
How much damage will this do to President Hernandez?
It’s certainly very harmful. Anti-government protests and opposition politicians have accused President Hernandez of running a “drug nation” for years, but his brother’s life imprisonment has attracted international attention to Honduras.
One year after Tony Hernandez was arrested, prosecutors alleged damage to the president.
They said Tony Hernandez “collusioned with his brother, the president of Honduras,” to engage in “state-sponsored drug trafficking.”
Court documents also claimed that Juan Orlando Hernandez’s 2013 presidential campaign was funded by drug money.
In one of the most shocking allegations, prosecutors said imprisoned Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín Guzman gave Tony Hernandez $ 1 million (£ 725,000) as a bribe to Juan Orlando Hernandez. It was.
President Hernandez rejected all allegations as part of political revenge against him by drug traffickers.
He has repeatedly stated that drug attacks have increased since he took office and his family has been targeted by disgruntled drug gangs.
“It is unbelievable that the false testimony of the confessed murderer is heard and appreciated in this way,” he said in response to his brother’s decision.
“What happened (today) is hard for my family and personally. I don’t want anyone. I think it’s ridiculous,” he said.