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In SDNY Honduras Cachiros Launderer Seeks Release Amid COVID But US Opposes

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread Video
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 11 – During the trial that convicted Tony Hernandez, the brother of Honduras' president Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), on all four counts of guns and narcotics trafficking and false statements, the Honduran National Police came up again and again in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

  Now on May 11, this on Yani Benjamin Rosenthal Hidalgo: "The defendant pled guilty to engaging in a sophisticated money-laundering operation with the leaders of the largest and most violent drug-trafficking organization in Honduras known as the “Cachiros.” Through his conduct, which occurred over a period of at least five years, the defendant provided the Cachiros with sources of funding for their criminal enterprise, a means to launder their narcotics proceeds, and public legitimacy, thereby contributing to an environment that allowed the Cachiros to thrive in their country and to import over 100 tons of cocaine into the United States. In connection with his plea, the defendant admitted that he authorized a company he controlled, Empacadora Continental, S.A. de C.V. (“Empacadora”), to purchase narcotics-derived The Silvio J. Mollo Building  One Saint Andrew’s Plaza New York, New York 10007 U.S. Department of Justice United States Attorney Southern District of New York Case 1:13-cr-00413-JGK Document 328 Filed 05/11/20 Page 1 of 16 Hon. John G. Koeltl May 11, 2020 Page 2 cattle from Ganaderos Agricultores Del Norte S De RL De CV, a front company created by the leaders of the Cachiros. Empacadora, in turn, processed and exported meat to the United States, among other places, in exchange for payments to Empacadora from U.S.-based companies that totaled $500,000. In addition, the defendant and his co-conspirators, including his father (the former Vice President of Honduras), used their political power and business holdings in other ways in order to assist the Cachiros in laundering millions of dollars in drug-trafficking proceeds. They helped the Cachiros launder drug-trafficking proceeds through, and obtain sham loans in the name of, three other Honduras-based businesses. These financial transactions in Honduras totaled over $15 million. The defendant also separately accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money, styled as purported “campaign contributions,” from one of the leaders of the Cachiros and another major Honduran drug trafficker. At bottom, the defendant took advantage of his vast political and social power to facilitate the activities of violent drug-traffickers in a country that has been ravaged by narcotics trafficking. The defendant did so despite the fact that he was one of the most powerful individuals, and a member of one of the most powerful families, in Honduras, who did not need to accept any business from drug-traffickers in order to maintain his social position or vast wealth. Sadly, the defendant, who had opportunities many in his country do not, chose to use these opportunities in the worst way possible. And the system that the defendant helped proliferate continues to this day—as in part reflected by recent prosecutions in this District, rampant cocaine trafficking and corruption continues in Honduras, aided in large part by politicians and government officials like the defendant. See, e.g., United States v. Fabio Lobo, 15 Cr. 174 (LGS) (Fabio Lobo, the son of former Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, pleaded guilty to a drug-trafficking charge and was subsequently sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment); United States v. Mejia Vargas, et al., 15 Cr. 174 (LGS) (seven members of the Honduran National Police (“HNP”) pled guilty to weapons charges and/or drug-trafficking offenses); United States v. Fredy Renan Najera Montoya, 15 Cr. 378 (PGG) (Honduran Congressman pled guilty to drug-trafficking and firearms offenses and acknowledged that he facilitated the importation of at least approximately 20,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States); United States v. Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado, 15 Cr. 379 (PKC) (former Honduran Congressman and brother of current President of Honduras convicted of drug trafficking and weapons offenses after trial, faces a 40-year mandatory minimum sentence). The Court sentenced the defendant on December 15, 2017. The Court concluded that the defendant’s applicable Guidelines range was 51 to 63 months’ imprisonment. (Dkt. 266 at 39). The Court then found that the defendant’s conduct was “an important and necessary step” in drug trafficking, such that “a substantial sentence [was] necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offense and the need for deterrence.” (Dkt. 266 at 40). Ultimately, the Court sentenced the defendant to 36 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a one-year term of supervised release. (Dkt. 266 at 43). The defendants is currently serving his sentence at FCI Miami, in Miami, Florida, and has a projected release date of August 8, 2020."
  This while still-free President Juan Orlando Hernandez, implicated in the case, is now promoting
hydroxychloroquine as countering Covid-19, and seeks $340 million from the IMF, here.

  On April 14 it emerged that Tony Hernandez, unlike almost all other defendants during the Coronavirus pandemic, had refused to waive his physical appearance, letter below.

  So when the scheduled conference by SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel began at 2 pm on April 15, with Inner City Press pressing to cover it, Judge Castel began by saying even the substitution of counsel should be put over.

  But after the below-quoted letter, the lawyers had reached Tony Hernandez and gotten his consent to not appear, and to for substitution of counsel.

  Judge Castel formalized the withdrawal as Tony Hernandez' counsel of Milbank's Antonia Apps and Kingdar Prussien, and their substitution by Peter Brill.

  By Judge Castel set a sentencing date, a new one: June 29 at 11 AM. He asked at the US Attorney's Office produce Tony Hernandez at that time. And with that it was over. Thread here. Inner City Press will continue to closely monitor the case.

Brill on April 14 had written: "Re: United States v. Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado 15 Cr. 379 Dear Judge Castel: I have been provisionally assigned by the Court to represent Mr. Hernandez. I write to inform the Court of the attempts both I and outgoing counsel from Milbank have made to communicate with our client. Mr. Hernandez and I have been corresponding by email, to a limited extent, which is made more difficult because I have to translate from Spanish to English and vice versa when I reply. I have also had some contact with family and friends, though that communication is obviously not privileged. Ms. Apps and Mr. Prussien from Milbank have made multiple requests for phone and video conferences with Mr. Hernandez, and we have corresponded with the government about facilitating a call. After numerous requests, the video conference was denied by the MCC. Unfortunately, despite multiple attempts to schedule a phone call and numerous messages left with the facility, we have not received a response. This has been going on for weeks. Even if a call were scheduled, I would also have to conference in my assistant to translate, or somehow secure the assistance of a court interpreter. Based on my emails with Mr. Hernandez, he appears to understand the situation. However, translated emails do not allow for a formal discussion of what substitution and conflict mean. The emails are also not privileged communications, so I don’t feel entirely comfortable having meaningful conversations over Corrlinks. As such, Mr. Hernandez has not formally agreed to waive his appearance."

 On March 3 there was another arrest, this one citing "CC-4" while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres continues to refusal all questions about his support for involved Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez. The March 3 announcement is that "GEOVANNY DANIEL FUENTES RAMIREZ was charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and related weapons offenses involving the use and possession of machineguns and destructive devices.  DEA agents arrested FUENTES RAMIREZ on March 1, 2020, at Miami International Airport as he attempted to depart the United States, and was presented yesterday afternoon in Miami federal court.     Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez was, up until his arrest by the DEA two days ago, a prolific, powerful, and murderous cocaine trafficker in Honduras.  As further alleged, Fuentes Ramirez paved the way for unimpeded shipment of multi-ton loads of cocaine by bribing police and a high-ranking Honduran politician, and reporting directly to Tony Hernandez, another co-conspirator in the scheme and himself a former Honduran congressman.  Thanks to the DEA, a key player in the unholy alliance of Honduran officials and drug traffickers is now in custody and facing a possible life behind bars.”     DEA Special Agent in Charge Wendy Woolcock said:  “The arrest of Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez is yet another example of DEA’s perseverance to bring to justice criminal associates of corrupt Honduran public officials and law enforcement officers who enabled the trafficking of massive amounts of cocaine headed to the United States.  These corrupt arrangements resulted in horrible violence in Honduras and beyond.  The DEA will continue to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who participated in these activities, threatened the rule of law, and operated with complete disregard for human life for their financial gain.”     According to the allegations contained in the Complaint[1] charging FUENTES RAMIREZ, evidence presented at the October 2019 trial of Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado in the Southern District of New York, and statements in open court during the prosecution of Hernandez Alvarado:     Between approximately 2004 and 2020, multiple drug trafficking organizations in Honduras and elsewhere worked together, and with support from certain prominent public and private individuals, including Honduran politicians and law enforcement officials, to receive multi-ton loads of cocaine sent to Honduras from, among other places, Colombia via air and maritime routes, and to transport the drugs westward in Honduras toward the border with Guatemala and eventually to the United States." Since then: Maduro...

  Earlier, Inner City Press first reported that Mauricio Hernández Pineda, a former member of the National Police of Honduras,  has been arrested and detained on consent. He signed a financial affidavit of poverty - ironic - and was assigned CJA court appointed counsel, Michael Martin. Soon he will appeared before SDNY Judge Castel. Inner City Press will remain on the case.

  Also during Tony Hernandez' trial, the drug ledgers of one Nery Orlando López Sanabria a/k/a Magdaleno were used by the SDNY prosecutors.

  Here is an Inner City Press tweeted photo of notebook mentioning "JOH," in Spanish. Inner City Press has repeated asked the United Nations, in New York and Geneva, for comment. Dead silence.

A week after the Tony Hernandez verdict, Magdaleno was murdered in a supposedly maximum security prison in Santa Barbara, Honduras.

  The video are very troubling [WARNING] including the guards letting the killers in, here.

  UNSG Antonio Guterres refused all Press questions about Honduras during the trial and in the nine days since the verdict. On October 29 Inner City Press has asked: "what are the comments and actions of Guterres on the video taped killing of Nery Orlando López a/k/a Magdaleno Meza Fúnez, whose notebooks were used to convict Presidential brother Tony Hernandez in the SDNY court this month? Now Reinero Valle has, as Madgaleno had before his assassination, asked to be moved out of that El Pozo prison due to threats to silence him as a witness, so far without response to his lawyer Nazario Luque? Again, immediately provide the report / read-out of Guterres' four person panel sent to Honduras, and complete read out of his meeting with JOH." Now as of November 2, as Guterres presumptively uses El Chapo's money via JOH to visit strongmen leaders in Turkey and Thailand then, uncontested, waste money at his real home in Lisbon, nothing. Total corrupt.

This while Guterres' UN, despite its protestations and misuse of the concept, enable fake news in Honduras.

   On October 27 a publication in Honduras said the UN office of human rights has said nothing. But nothing had been emailed out to its press list, and nothing could be found on its website in Geneva - it turns out news it doesn't want anyone or at least not the drug funded dictators it answers to see it, it puts on obscure sub-sites, see below.

At 9 am on October 28 Geneva time Inner City Press in writing asked UN "High Commissioner for Human Rights" Michelle Bachelet and her spokesman Rupert Colville this: "Hello, this is a Press request for OHCHR / Bachelet comment on the murder, on video, in Honduras of 'Magdeleno' whose drug trafficking notebook were used in recent SDNY conviction of Presidential brother Tony Hernandez, a trial Inner City Press covered every day. See video of killing here.

   More on Patreon here.

  Inner City Press which covered the trial daily has asked the UN for the comment of SG Antonio Guterres who met with JOH in September 2019 and did not even mention corruption, much less drug trafficking.

 On October 26 after the murder and release of the video, Inner City Press went to (try to) pose the question to Guterres. The response? Video here. Three UN security vehicles, and even a publicly funded NYPD detective, "protecting" Guterres who already wastes untold public funds on security. Disgusting. A protest has been called for, and is needed - @InnerCityPress response here.  More on Patreon here.

Inner City Press on October 18 asked the defendant's lawyer Omar Malone about this client's post arrest statement, the admitted murders by the cooperating witnesses, and upcoming sentencing submission. Video and answers here.

    Here was the post arrest statement as initially put in to the jury, as uploaded to YouTube by Inner City Press, here. The case is US v. Diaz Morales, 15-cr-00379 (Castel).


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