A Honduran drug smuggler has been released in the US after serving her prison sentence and is now fighting not to be deported knowing that if she returns to her homeland she will be murdered because she gave evidence against other dealers, including her own brothers.
When Digna Valle Valle touched down in Miami’s international airport from Honduras on in 2014, plans she might have had for pool-side business meetings and drug deal negotiations were ruined.
Valle, 53, a rare female face in the hierarchy of international drug trafficking organisations, was arrested on arrival by United States law enforcement, the culmination of years of investigative work by the Miami division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
She might not have been completely surprised by her detention. The drug trafficking operation that she ran with her brothers, Miguel Arnulfo and Luis Alonso, and her son Gerson Stanley—collectively known as Los Valles—had been operating for some 20 years by then.
Nearly six years later, after having acted as a key cooperating witness in a massive investigation that brought down some of the strongest drug trafficking networks in the region, including her family’s organisation as well as corrupt political elites, Valle now finds herself facing imminent deportation back to her home country—and almost certain death.
There is very solid evidence of Valle's contribution to the legal investigation into her drug trafficking operation. Just months after her arrest, for example, her brothers were detained in Honduras and extradited to the United States. Honduran authorities also moved on and seized more than 50 properties owned by Los Valles that year and have since also arrested her daughter Tesla on charges of money laundering. Her son Gerson eventually turned himself in to US authorities after years on the lam thanks to his mother, who convinced him to do so, according to local press reports. Her brothers and son have all since been convicted on drug-related charges.
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