International Development News
Development News Edition

Honduran president's brother promised 'El Chapo' protection, witness says


Honduran president's brother promised 'El Chapo' protection, witness says
Image Credit: Twitter (@JuanOrlandoH)

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman tried to give $1 million to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez's election campaign after being promised protection for his cocaine shipments, a witness at Hernandez's criminal trial in New York said Tuesday.

Amilcar Alexander Ardon, a former mayor and confessed killer and narco trafficker, testified before jurors in the U.S. Southern District Court of New York in the second week of the trial of Juan Antonio "Tony" Hernandez, the president's brother. Tony Hernandez, a lawyer and former Honduran congressman, is accused of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and possessing illegal weapons.

He has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorneys said on Tuesday that Ardon's testimony was not backed by any physical evidence. The president has denied taking money from Guzman or other drug traffickers..

Ardon testified that Tony Hernandez had promised El Chapo that his cocaine shipments through the Central American country would be protected if his brother won the presidency in 2013. In response, Guzman offered to give $1 million to the 2013 campaign to elect Juan Orlando Hernandez, now the president, Ardon told jurors. In a later meeting, Ardon said, El Chapo handed the money to Tony Hernandez.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in 2017 and is serving a sentence of life in prison. One of his lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, has denied that his client paid Juan Orlando Hernandez. Ardon, who was once mayor of the town of El Paraiso, had first testified about the payment on Monday, but on Tuesday offered more detail about the discussions between Guzman and Tony Hernandez leading up to it.

Ardon turned himself into U.S. authorities in March and is cooperating with prosecutors. He admitted on Monday that he had been responsible for 56 murders. Responding to the allegations, President Hernandez tweeted Tuesday, "CONFESSED KILLER of 56 people who live with profound hate and thirst for vengeance against me. The conspiracy is CLEAR among confessed criminals who have nothing to lose."

In addition to protection for his drug shipments, Ardon said, Guzman wanted assurances that his partners in the country - drug trafficking brothers Luis and Arnulfo Valle, and Ardon - would not be extradited to the United States. Juan Orlando Hernandez won the presidency in 2013, and took office in January 2014. When the Valle brothers were arrested in 2014, Ardon said he personally conveyed Guzman's displeasure to the president.

"I told Juan Orlando Hernandez that was the reason he had been paid the $1 million, to protect the Valles," he said. The president countered that he had no obligation to anyone, and offered to give the money back, Ardon said. U.S. prosecutors have said Tony Hernandez, with the protection of his brother, moved tons of cocaine into the United States, some of it stamped with his initials, and took part in two drug-related murders.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has supported Juan Orlando Hernandez, a conservative, as a staunch ally in the fight against drug trafficking. In Honduras, he has faced mounting popular opposition since he was sworn in for a second term in January 2018 despite allegations of electoral fraud.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

EdTech: A technical approach to flexible and cost-effective education

Its hight time for the world to go for innovative approaches like e-learning over traditional learning methods that need physical infrastructure, long-term planning, and huge investment. ...

'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Videos

Latest News

Paying countries not to chop down forests works, study shows

When Norway decided a decade ago to pay Guyana, a small jungle-covered country in South America, to reduce its rate of deforestation, no one was sure how much effect the move would have. Now they know it does work, according to a study publ...

Union raises money to help U.S. diplomats pay impeachment legal bills

The union representing U.S. diplomats said on Monday it has raised tens of thousands of dollars in the last week alone to help defray the legal costs of foreign service officers who have testified in U.S. President Donald Trumps impeachment...

U.S. to change migration rules in a bid to send asylum seekers elsewhere

The Trump administration is set to harden the rules this week on those allowed to seek asylum in the United States, as it attempts to stem a wave of migration on its southern border with Mexico.In a fast-track regulation set to publish in t...

UPDATE 1-Trump defender's fame rockets; so does her opponent's fundraising

President Donald Trump declared a star is born after Republican Representative Elise Stefanik strongly defended him during last weeks impeachment hearings in Congress. But someone else also got a boost from Stefaniks new fame her Democratic...

Give Feedback