Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Saturday denied reports from a U.S. court filing linking him to drug trafficking, accusing criminals of seeking revenge against him, Reuters informs.
“The drug traffickers are looking for revenge against the only president who’s done what he’s needed to do,” he told a news conference, detailing his efforts to curb illegal drug sales in the small Central American country where drug gangs have prominent strongholds.
Hernandez specifically opposed a report from U.S.-based Spanish language broadcaster Univision in which he said he was described as implicated in a campaign finance conspiracy.
The Washington Post reports that U.S. federal prosecutors have accused the Honduran government of essentially functioning as a narco-state, with the current and former presidents having received campaign contributions from cocaine traffickers in exchange for protection.
A 49-page document filed in New York’s southern district on Friday refers to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández as a co-conspirator who worked with his brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, and former President Porfirio Lobo “to use drug trafficking to help assert power and control in Honduras.” It says that the president and his predecessor “relied on drug proceeds” to fund political campaigns and cites “evidence of high-level political corruption.”
The filing comes just months after other U.S. federal court documents showed the current president and some of his closest advisers were among the targets of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, casting further doubt on the United States’ assertion that Honduras has helped stopped the flow of drugs.