Honduran President Implicated in Drug Trade

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Honduran President Implicated in Drug Trade

MEXICO CITY—New York federal prosecutors made new allegations that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, a key Trump administration ally in efforts to stop illegal migrants, received millions of dollars from drug traffickers to help export tons of cocaine to the U.S.

The allegations against Mr. Hernández came in a filing made Friday night in the Southern District of New York in the case of Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, an alleged Honduran drug trafficker who is in prison in New York, and is alleged to have run a lab that produced hundreds of tons of cocaine a month.

In the most explosive allegation in the filing, it said the president, 52 years old, boasted to Mr. Fuentes Ramirez that “he wanted to shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos.”

The claims underscore the difficult challenge posed by Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere, to the incoming Biden administration. President-elect Joe Biden has promised a new emphasis on economic development, ending corruption and promoting the rule of law as a way of attacking the deep-rooted causes that push migrants from Central American countries to journey to the U.S.

“It will be a crucial test for the Biden administration,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank. “It’s a government and a president who are very suspect of being involved in drug trafficking.”

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