United States authorities allege that a recently arrested drug trafficker relied on protection from Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández and his brother Tony to manufacture hundreds of kilograms of cocaine per month, broadening the scope of the narco-politics network in the Central American nation.
US authorities arrested Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramírez at the international airport in Miami, Florida, on March 1 on drug and weapons charges, the Justice Department announced.
Prosecutors allege that beginning in 2009, Fuentes Ramírez began operating a cocaine laboratory in the coastal town of Omoa in northwest Cortés department along Honduras’ Caribbean coast with the capacity to produce up to 500 kilos of cocaine per month.
Omoa and Puerto Barrios are large port towns on the main cocaine trafficking route in the Central American corridor.
In order to ensure protection and the safe passage of drug shipments, Fuentes Ramírez allegedly bribed members of the Honduran National Police, as well as high-ranking politicians and members of congress, according to authorities. He is also believed to have reported directly to Tony Hernández, the former congressman and brother of President Hernández who was convicted on US drug charges in October 2019.
Fuentes Ramírez and Tony Hernández were drug trafficking associates since at least 2012. Fuentes Ramírez also had relationships with several Honduran politicians and officials.
In addition to the drug lab, Fuentes Ramírez also reportedly used a clandestine airstrip near Cortés department to receive and transport shipments of Colombian cocaine, as well as to move drug shipments manufactured inside the lab itself, according to authorities.