Former President Sentenced to Decades Behind Bars

( – On June 26, US federal judge Kevin Castel sentenced Honduras’s disgraced former president, Juan Hernandez, to 45 years in prison in the United States for allowing drug traffickers in the Central American nation to ship cocaine to American cities. Authorities explained that Hernandez enabled the operations by letting the criminals use his national police and even some factions of the Honduran Armed Forces. He was also fined $8 million.

A jury convicted the Honduran right-wing leader back in March in a federal court in Manhattan after a trial that became one of the most historic moments in the Central American nation’s modern history. Honduran journalists have said that the trial was one of the most-watched political events by Hondurans in decades, as the sentencing of Hernandez represented political turmoil. Over the last few days, the Honduran government said that every member of the Hernandez administration who also helped drug traffickers ship cocaine to the United States will face justice.

At his sentencing, Hernandez claimed he was “innocent” and even said he was “unjustly” and “wrongly” accused by American authorities of a crime he never committed. However, the federal judge said that the former president was nothing more than a “two-faced politician” who always showed a hunger for power that eventually led him to protect a “select group” of criminals that filled the country with cocaine.

As he stood in court with his legal team, Hernandez was wearing a full green prison uniform with American marshals behind him. Political analysts in Honduras said on social media that the event was a “humiliating situation” for the country’s political landscape because of its implications and because he was one of the leading US allies during his presidency.

With the sentencing, the 55-year-old right-wing leader became the first former head of state that US authorities found guilty of drug trafficking in the country since Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was convicted back in 1992.

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