As the migrant caravan that originated in Honduras treks north, the brother of that country’s president—a former lawmaker in the Central American nation—has been arrested and indicted in the U.S. on drug and weapons charges.
His name is Juan Antonio Hernandez and he is the younger brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who has blamed leftist interests for manipulating migrants to destabilize the country. The younger Hernandez is a former member of the National Congress of Honduras and the feds say he’s a bigtime drug trafficker who has moved tons of cocaine through the region in the last decade with the help of Honduran politicians and law enforcement officials.
A few days ago, Hernandez was arrested in Miami, Florida and this week he was charged in federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, weapons offenses involving the use and possession of machine guns and destructive devices and making false statements to federal agents. The case is being tried in a Manhattan, New York federal court and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, a George W. Bush appointee, according to a statement issued by the Justice Department.
Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor says Hernandez was involved in all stages of trafficking multi tons of U.S.-bound cocaine through Honduras. The president’s younger sibling also arranged machine gun toting security for cocaine shipments, bribed law enforcement officials for sensitive information to protect drug shipments and solicited large bribes from major drug traffickers.
The former Honduran legislator and his criminal associates teamed up with some of the world’s deadliest transitional criminal networks in Mexico and Colombia, according to federal authorities, to flood American streets with illicit drugs.
“From at least in or about 2004, up to and including in or about 2016, multiple drug-trafficking organizations in Honduras and elsewhere worked together, and with support from certain prominent public and private individuals, including Honduran politicians and law enforcement officials, to receive multi-ton loads of cocaine sent to Honduras from, among other places, Colombia via air and maritime routes, and to transport the drugs westward in Honduras toward the border with Guatemala and eventually to the United States,” according to the federal indictment.
“For protection from official interference, and in order to facilitate the safe passage through Honduras of multi-hundred-kilogram loads of cocaine, drug traffickers paid bribes to public officials, including certain members of the National Congress of Honduras.”
Not only did Hernandez work with large-scale drug traffickers in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico to import cocaine into the U.S., he was also involved in processing, receiving, transporting, and distributing multi-ton loads of cocaine that arrived in Honduras via planes, go-fast vessels and a submarine. He also had access to cocaine laboratories in Honduras and Colombia, where some of the drug was stamped with his initials.
“Hernandez also coordinated and, at times, participated in providing heavily armed security for cocaine shipments transported within Honduras, including by members of the Honduran National Police and drug traffickers armed with, among other weapons, machineguns,” the indictment states. The feds include a specific incident in which Hernandez and his drug trafficking cohorts collaborated with Honduran law enforcement and government entities.
This case helps illustrates the dire security issues created by crime infestation and rampant drug trafficking in Central America at a time when thousands of migrants from that region are demanding asylum in the U.S. Judicial Watch traveled to the Guatemalan-Honduran border to cover the caravan when it first left the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.
Besides gang members and mobs of young angry men, the caravan consisted of Africans, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Indians. Guatemalan officials confirmed that the “elaborately planned” movement is benefiting human smugglers and bringing disturbing numbers of violent gang members and other criminal elements through the country, into Mexico and possibly the U.S. One high-level Guatemalan government operative told Judicial Watch “MS-13 gang members have been detained and coyotes (human smugglers) are joining the march with clients who pay to get smuggled into the United States.”
With evidence from federal authorities that Honduran government and law enforcement officials are complicit in a major drug trafficking operation run by the president’s own brother, there’s no telling the level of criminals making their way north in the caravan.