The United States has formally asked Honduras to extradite former President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who Washington suspects of being involved in illicit drug trafficking.
The Honduran Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Monday on Twitter that the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa had formally requested the arrest of a Honduran politician for eventual extradition to the United States. Hernandez was identified as the politician wanted for extradition when the U.S.-based cable news network CNN broadcast images of the request.
Several police officers have surrounded the former president’s house in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. The Supreme Court of Justice, Honduras’ high court, will meet Tuesday morning to name a judge to oversee the extradition request.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month there were credible reports that Hernandez “has engaged in significant corruption by committing or facilitating acts of corruption and narco-trafficking” and using the proceeds to fund his political career. His brother, former Honduran congressman Tony Hernandez, was sentenced to life in prison in the United States last year on charges of drug trafficking.
Hernandez was sworn in as Honduras’ representative to the Central American Parliament January 27, just hours after his successor, Xiomara Castro, became the country’s first woman president. His lawyer says he has immunity from extradition because he is a member of the regional parliament.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.