Honduran president urged drug trafficker to ‘shove’ cocaine ‘right up the noses of the gringos,’ U.S. alleges

Federal prosecutors in New York said in court Tuesday that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández plotted to ship cocaine to the U.S. with alleged drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez, arrested in Florida on trafficking and arms charges in March 2020. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Gutwillig, in his opening statements in Fuentes Ramírez’s trial, said an accountant overheard Hernández tell Fuentes Ramírez he wanted to to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos.'”

“They plotted to send as much cocaine as possible to the United States,” Gutwillig said. He dated the incident to 2013 or 2014, and said the accountant, who prosecutors are calling José Sánchez, will testify in the trial. A lawyer for Fuentes Ramírez responded that Sánchez isn’t a credible witness and is testifying to obtain U.S. asylum. Hernández reiterated his claims of innocence on Monday, tweeting that the drug traffickers are implicating him for his anti-trafficking efforts and to obtain lighter sentences, The Associated Press reports.

Drug Enforcement Administration agent Brian Fairbanks, who arrested Fuentes Ramirez, testified Tuesday that he found Hernández’s phone number and email address in Fuentes Ramírez’s cellphone, and identified the Honduran president in a photo next to Fuentes Ramírez’s son and brother. Hernández was also accused of accepting more than $1 million in bribes from Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman during the trial that ended in the 2019 conviction of the president’s brother Juan Antonio Hernández. A court filing last month suggests the U.S. is investigating Juan Orlando Hernández, though he has not yet been charged with any crime.

*story by The Week