Honduras ex-president Juan Orlando Hernandez to face charges in US court

Former president accused of drug trafficking and possessing dangerous weapons

Juan Orlando Hernandez boards a plane to the US during his extradition. Reuters

Former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez was expected to make a virtual appearance in a federal court in New York on Friday to face drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Mr Hernandez was arrested in Honduras and extradited overnight to the US.

He boarded an aircraft in Honduras with agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday, only three months after leaving office.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland accused Mr Hernandez of abusing his position as president of Honduras “to operate the country as a narco-state".

Mr Hernandez, who served as president of the Central American nation from 2014 until this year, was charged in court documents with participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy, possession of machine guns and destructive devices and conspiracy to possess machine guns and destructive devices.

Mr Hernandez was arrested at his home in Tegucigalpa in February at the request of US authorities. Honduras’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal against a judge’s decision favouring extradition.

His court appearance on Friday in New York was expected to be virtual because of Covid-19 protocols, authorities said.

Mr Hernandez has denied any wrongdoing. In a video message released on Thursday, he said: “I am innocent. I have been and I am being unjustly subjected to prosecution.”

Updated: April 22, 2022, 6:07 PM