The brother of the Honduran president has been convicted in a massive drug conspiracy case in New York City after prosecutors said he relied on “state-sponsored drug trafficking" enabled by the Central American leader. He will be sentenced next month.
Juan Antonio "Tony" Hernández, 41, a former Honduran congressman, was stoic as the verdict was announced by a jury that deliberated over two days. He was convicted of drug conspiracy, weapons charges and lying to the Drug Enforcement Administration. His attorney promised to appeal.
The two-week trial put a spotlight on the lucrative drug trade between the United States and Honduras, where thousands of migrants have fled toward the US border with Mexico.
On Twitter, Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández said he received news of the verdict "with great sadness."
"In the name of the Honduran government and its institutions any false and irresponsible version that aims to stain the name of Honduras as a result of this verdict is rejected," he said.
US prosecutors say the drug conspiracy was protected by the Honduran government. The trial featured testimony that convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman aided the conspiracy by giving $1 million in bribes to Tony Hernández to pass along to his brother.
The Honduran president was not charged in the case but was labelled a co-conspirator. The president tweeted during the trial that the prosecution’s allegations were “100% false, absurd and ridiculous.”