Former Honduran Police Director Appears Before a Judge in New York After Being Extradited for Drug Trafficking – NBC New York (47)

NEW YORK – The former director of the Honduran National Police Juan Carlos Bonilla (2012-2013), extradited yesterday from Honduras to the United States, appeared this Wednesday before a federal judge in New York, where he will have to respond to accusations of participating in a conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.

Bonilla, also known as “El Tigre”, is also accused of using and possessing machine guns and destruction devices, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said today in a statement.

The director of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Anne Milgram, directly linked Bonilla with former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández, who precisely appeared yesterday before a judge in the same court, in which pleaded “not guilty” to drug trafficking.

“Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández would not have come to power and would not have been able to benefit from massive drug profits had it not been for his vast network of his corrupt associates,” among whom Milgram mentioned Bonilla.

For the director of the DEA “these collaborators, including Bonilla Valladares, also used their positions to traffic cocaine into the United States and violently protect other drug traffickers with political connections, all for their own personal benefit.”

According to the attorney general of this district, Damian Williams, Bonilla “instead of using his position of high responsibility as chief of the Honduran Police to combat drug trafficking (…) he erratically exploited his position to protect and help the drug-trafficking organizations that he was obliged to combat.

During the trial against the brother of former Honduran President Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, the former mayor of the Honduran town of El Paraíso Alexander Ardón, who appeared as a witness, assured that in 2011, “El Tigre” was responsible for the murder of a drug trafficker for order from “Tony” Hernández, although the order was given by him.

“If the judge asks for it, he is obliged,” one of former president Juan Orlando Hernández’s lawyers told Telemundo. To see more from Telemundo, visit https://www.nbc.com/networks/telemundo

At that time, Bonilla was the regional director of the Police.

The former police chief was captured on March 9 at a toll station in the Zambrano sector, about 30 kilometers north of Tegucigalpa.

The extradition of Bonilla, who was charged in April 2020 and requested by the US in May 2021, was approved by a judge from Tegucigalpa on April 8.

In April 2020, then-Manhattan District Attorney Geoffrey Berman indicated that Bonilla played a “key role in an international drug trafficking conspiracy.”

The spokesman for the Judiciary said that in the first part of the hearing the former president and his team of lawyers heard the charges made by a Court of the Southern District of New York.

He also said that Bonilla committed crimes on behalf of former deputy “Tony” Hernández -who in March 2021 was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in prison- “and his brother the president”, referring to the now former governor Juan Orlando Hernández, among them “the murder of a rival trafficker”.

Last week, in a letter handwritten by Bonilla, he said: “Now that I am facing criminal proceedings in the Southern District Court of New York, I have been unfairly mentioned by unknown persons who have acted outside the law, to discredit my honor, family and hard police career, I only ask God to bless you forever.

With Bonilla, there are at least 31 Hondurans who have been extradited to the United States for drug trafficking since 2014.

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