Legal Nigeria

Tony Hernandez brother of Honduran President jailed for life in US

Agency Report

Tony Hernandez, brother of Honduran president was sentenced to life in prison by a New York judge Tuesday for large-scale drug trafficking.

The sentencing of the 42 year-old followed a trial that also implicated President Juan Orlando Hernandez .

Tony Hernandez was found guilty in October 2019 on four counts — including conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, possessing machine guns and making false statements.

Judge P. Kevin Castel said a life sentence for the former Honduran congressman who trafficked more than 185 tons of cocaine into the United States, some branded with his initials “TH,” was “richly deserved.”

In addition , Tony Hernandez also forfeited $138.5 million.

Judge Castel of the Southern District of New York accepted prosecutor Audrey Strauss’ request to seize the money, which was described as “blood money.”

Prosecutors had demanded life, stressing that Hernandez had “shown no remorse” and was “a central figure in one of the largest and most violent cocaine trafficking conspiracies in the world.”

His defense team had called for the mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years.

Hernandez, who served as a member of the Honduran Congress from 2014 to 2018, was arrested at a Miami airport in November 2018.

During the trial, US prosecutors said President Hernandez had been a “co-conspirator” in his brother’s crimes, although he has not been formally charged by the US judicial system.

Government attorneys said the president took millions of dollars in bribes from drug lords including jailed Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

President Hernandez has repeatedly denied all allegations of drug trafficking.

In a tweet ahead of the sentencing, the president said the news from New York would “be painful” and repeated an allegation that the main witness in the trial had lied.

Hernandez, a lawyer who came to power in January 2014 and is in his second term, has styled himself as a champion in the fight against drugs.

During his brother’s trial the US government successfully argued that Tony Hernandez was a large-scale drug trafficker who worked from 2004 to 2016 with others in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico to import cocaine into the US by plane, boat and submarine.