A Honduran judge Wednesday ruled in favor of extraditing former President Juan Orlando Hernández to the United States, where he is wanted for alleged drug trafficking and illegal use of weapons.
Extradition Judge of First Instance resolves: to grant request for Extradition sent by the Court of the Southern District of New York for the former president of the Republic Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, the Supreme Court of Justice of Honduras announced through its official Twitter account.
Wednesday's ruling may be appealed within the next three days, according to Judiciary Spokesman Melvin Duarte, in which case, it would be up to the Supreme Court to make the final decision.
Hernández, who ruled Honduras between 2014 and 2022, is sought for crimes such as conspiracy to import a controlled substance and possessing firearms, including machine guns and destructive devices, in support of the conspiracy to import narcotics.
The former head of state is said to have participated in the violent drug trafficking conspiracy to receive multi-ton shipments of cocaine sent to Honduras from Colombia and Venezuela, among other places, via air and sea routes.
The conspiracy transported more than 500,000 kilograms of cocaine through Honduras to the United States, according to the documents.
US prosecutors handling the case in New York claim the former president received millions of dollars in bribes and profits from multiple drug trafficking organizations in Honduras, Mexico, and other countries. In return, Hernández shielded drug traffickers from investigation, arrest, and extradition.
In 2013, Hernandez accepted approximately US$ 1,000,000 in drug trafficking proceeds from Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias 'El Chapo.'
The former president has also been linked to drug trafficking during the trial against his brother, former Congressman Tony Hernández, who is already serving a life sentence in New York since March 2021.
Hernández is a 53-year-old right-wing lawyer who left office Jan. 27, after being defeated in the elections by current leftist President Xiomara Castro.