Former Honduras president convicted in US on drug trafficking charges

Hernández faces at least 40 years in prison after he was convicted of all three counts.
Juan Orlando Hernandez, April 21, 2022, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

The former president of Honduras faces up to life in prison after he was convicted in New York on three charges related to importing cocaine into the United States and using machine-guns and other weapons in the scheme. 

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who served as leader of the Central American country from 2014 to 2022, was convicted Friday and is expected to be sentenced on June 26, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Hernández "abused his position as President of Honduras to operate the country as a narco-state where violent drug traffickers were allowed to operate with virtual impunity."

Hernández, 55, worked with the leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel to import tons of cocaine into the U.S., officials said. 

From 2004 to 2022, Hernández was "at the center of one of the largest and most violent drug-trafficking conspiracies in the world," the Justice Department said, citing court documents. 

He and his co-conspirators trafficked more than 400 tons of cocaine through Honduras toward the U.S. while he was in the country's government, officials also said. 

Hernández faces at least 40 years in prison after he was convicted of all three counts. 

The charges he was convicted of include conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S., which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and using and carrying machine-guns and other destructive devices during the cocaine importation conspiracy, which carries a mandatory consecutive prison term of 30 years. He was also convicted of conspiring to use and carry machine-guns during the cocaine importation plot, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

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