With files from the Associated Press
American prosecutors have launched an investigation into Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, according to a new court document filed after the US accused him of playing a major role in the international narcotics trade.
The document was filed on Friday in the Southern District of New York as part of the case of alleged drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez and is US officials’ first acknowledgement that Hernandez is being investigated.
It does not specify what Hernandez is being investigated for, but comes after federal prosecutors last month claimed he “accepted millions of dollars in drug-trafficking proceeds.”
Last month’s motions, which refer to Hernandez only as ‘CC-4’ (co-conspirator no. 4), accuse him of accepting cash in exchange for offering “drug traffickers protection from prosecutors, law enforcement, and (later) extradition to the United States.”
CC-4’s real intention was to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos,” the document alleged, rather than his publicly-stated aim of making the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) “think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking.”
The president has also been accused of using the Honduran military to guard a cocaine lab.
In the new US court filing, prosecutors claimed the Honduran government had failed to honor extradition requests regarding potential witnesses against the president and “has hardly been forthcoming” in assisting the investigation.
Hernandez, who came to power in 2013 and won a second term in 2017, has consistently denied allegations he is involved in the drug trade.