US wants extradition of former Honduras president

The US has formally asked Honduras to extradite former President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who Washington suspects of involvement in the drug trade.

The Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Monday on Twitter that the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa has formally requested the arrest of a Honduran politician for his eventual extradition to the US. Hernandez identified as politician wanted for extradition while US-based news agency CNN display the pictures of the request.

Several police have surrounded the former president’s house in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Honduras’ Supreme Court is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to determine the judge who will examine the extradition request.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this month said there were credible reports that Hernandez “had engaged in significant corruption by committing or facilitating acts of corruption and the narcotics trade” and using the proceeds to fund his political career. His brother, former Honduran congressman Tony Hernandez, was sentenced to life in prison in the US last year on drug trafficking charges.

Hernandez was sworn in as Honduras’ envoy to the Central American Parliament on January 27, just hours after his successor, Xioamara Castro, became the country’s first female president. His lawyer said Hernandez had immunity from extradition because he was a member of the regional parliament. [uh/ab]