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Ex-president bags 45 years imprisonment in US for drug trafficking

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Ex-president bags 45 years imprisonment in US for drug trafficking

A court in the United States has sentenced former Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, to 45 years imprisonment and proposed an $8 million fine for offenses related to drug trafficking.

Hernandez had previously refuted the accusations against him and maintained his innocence during sentencing on Wednesday, claiming he was wrongly framed.

In a trial in New York in March, a jury found Hernandez guilty on three drug trafficking charges following a two-week proceeding in a federal court in Manhattan.

He was brought to the United States from Honduras after the Department of Justice pressed three charges linked to drug trafficking and firearms in 2022.

Prosecutors alleged that during his presidency, Hernandez colluded with drug cartels as they transported over 400 tons of cocaine through Honduras towards the US and further claimed that the former president received substantial bribes, which he used to advance his political career in Honduras.

READ ALSO: US DEA declares Nigerian American wanted for drug trafficking

According to the Justice Department, Hernandez utilised his executive power to facilitate the extradition of specific drug traffickers to the US while in office, safeguarding and enriching those in his close circle involved in drug trafficking.

Prosecutors indicated that during his tenure, Hernandez promised protection to drug traffickers who paid him and adhered to his directives, with a guarantee that they could operate in Honduras.

It was also disclosed that individuals in the conspiracy Hernandez was part of depended on the Honduran National Police to safeguard cocaine shipments moving through the nation.

In a statement, US Attorney General Merrick Garland denounced Hernandez for exploiting his authority as the president of Honduras to run the country as a narco-state, where violent drug traffickers were aided to operate with almost no consequences, causing suffering to the people of Honduras and the United States.

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