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Trial underway for former Honduran president on gun, drug trafficking charges

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in a courtroom sketch Associated Press/Image by Elizabeth Williams

Trial underway for former Honduran president on gun, drug trafficking charges

U.S. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel on Tuesday oversaw jury selection for the trial between the U.S. Justice Department and Juan Orlando Hernández. Federal prosecutors in 2022 indicted Hernández on gun and drug-related charges. They allege that, for decades, Hernández accepted money to facilitate drug trafficking from organizations in Mexico, Honduras, and elsewhere. They say he used that money to fund his campaigns, rig elections, and increase his personal wealth—effectively turning his country into a “narco-state” that kept him in power.

Why is the United States prosecuting him rather than Honduran authorities? The Justice Department said Honduran authorities arrested Hernández last February and afterward extradited him to the United States. During his association with drug cartels, the department alleges that Hernández conspired to import hundreds of thousands of pounds of cocaine into the United States. Hernandez has maintained his innocence.

Dig deeper: Read Mary Jackson’s report in WORLD Magazine about how a new California law protecting so-called “sex work” has given the streets to pimps and traffickers.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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