New York, March 31,2021:Judge P.Kevin Castel in New York has handed a life sentence for drug trafficking to Tony Hernandez, brother of one Juan Orlando Hernandez, the President of Honduras who also gets implicated in the case as “co-conspirator”. The defendant was convicted on multiple counts, including conspiring to import cocaine into the US, possessing machine guns and perjury.
The judge said a life sentence for the former Honduran congressman was “richly deserved.” President Hernandez, however,questioned the legitimacy of the trial, saying, “it is outrageous and incredible that false testimonies of confessed murderers are heard and valued in this way,” referring to key prosecution witnesses.
The family of Hernandez protested his innocence in an official statement from the presidency and is going to appeal. Defense called for the minimum 40 years while the prosecutors stressed that Hernandez had “shown no remorse” and was “a central figure in one of the largest and most violent cocaine trafficking conspiracies in the world.”
President Hernandez, a lawyer who portrays himself as a warrior against drug cartels, allegedly took bribes form them, including the infamous Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of the Sinaloa cartel. According to prosecution statements, Tony Hernandez used the gains of trafficking cocaine from Columbia and Mexico to influence presidential elections and was also involved in murders of rival traffickers. Some rivals also testified for the prosecution, the credibility of whose statements being questionable, the Defense’s main argument.
Other Honduran public officials have also been tried in US courts over similar crimes. Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, was aided by the President to smuggle cocaine in tons and was subsequently found guilty of drug trafficking.
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