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In SDNY Tony Hernandez Accused At Trial Of Taking $1M From El Chapo For Honduras Prez His Brother

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Twitter
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 2 – The prosecution of the brother of Honduras' president for guns and drug running began with a bang on October 2 with the charge that already life imprisoned El Chapo Guzman gave the defendant $1 million for this brother, the president. The trial is before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel and Inner City Press will be live tweeting it.

  Earlier on October 2 before the explosive opening statements, Inner City Press was in the courtroom as Judge Castel posed questions to prospective jurors. Where do you live? What social media do you use? (Many answers of Facebook and Instagram; a technology executive who said she lives "in the neighborhood" of the courthouse talked about Twitter as well).

 The defendant sat with interpretation headphones on, with the strap not on top of his head but behind his neck. Now he accused of taking money for El Chapo for his brother the president Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was only recently in New York holding a grip and grin with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, linked to other bribery convictions in the SDNY (including Patrick Ho of CEFC China Energy) but benefiting from now from immunity.

  The US Attorney's Office has said: "From at least in or about 2004, up to and including in or about 2016, 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.  For protection from official interference, and in order to facilitate the safe passage through Honduras of multi-hundred-kilogram loads of cocaine, drug traffickers paid bribes to public officials, including certain members of the National Congress of Honduras. 

HERNANDEZ is a former member of the National Congress of Honduras, the brother of the current president of Honduras, and a large-scale drug trafficker who worked with other drug traffickers in, among other places, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico, to import cocaine into the United States. 

From at least in or about 2004, up to and including in or about 2016, HERNANDEZ was involved in processing, receiving, transporting, and distributing multi-ton loads of cocaine that arrived in Honduras via planes, go-fast vessels, and, on at least one occasion, a submarine.  HERNANDEZ had access to cocaine laboratories in Honduras and Colombia, at which some of the cocaine was stamped with the symbol “TH,” i.e., “Tony Hernandez.”  HERNANDEZ also coordinated and, at times, participated in providing heavily armed security for cocaine shipments transported within Honduras, including by members of the Honduran National Police and drug traffickers armed with, among other weapons, machine guns.  

As part of his drug-trafficking activities, HERNANDEZ and his co-conspirators bribed law enforcement officials for sensitive information to protect drug shipments and solicited large bribes from major drug traffickers for HERNANDEZ.   In or about February 2014 in Honduras, HERNANDEZ met with Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, the former leader of a violent Honduran drug-trafficking organization known as the Cachiros, for a meeting arranged by, among others, a former member of the Honduran National Police.  During a video- and audio-recorded portion of that meeting, HERNANDEZ agreed to help Rivera Maradiaga by causing Honduran government entities to pay money owed to one or more Cachiros money-laundering front companies in exchange for kickback payments from Rivera Maradiaga.  Rivera Maradiaga paid HERNANDEZ approximately $50,000 during the meeting." And now El Chapo... Watch this site.

  Elsewhere in the SDNY, in a trial now before the jury, this midway report: When Daniel Hernandez, better known as rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, finished three days of cooperating testimony for the government against his former partners in the Nine Trey Bloods gang, conviction seemed likely for defendants Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack and Anthony "Harv" Elisson.   Harv was caught on video apparently car-jacking Hernandez and his driver Jorge Rivera. Video here.   

But then Harv's lawyer Deveraux Cannick began the question the timing and specifics of the carjacking and kidnapping. It coincided with the release of one of 6ixNine's songs; Cannick asked again and again if the rapper had specified the dozens of punches he now claimed while in proffer sessions with the prosecution.   

Hernandez wants the all important 5K1 cooperation letter. Without it he faces a minimum of 47 years and maximum of life. But what will not only insulting the Bloods but also linking other rappers like Trippie Redd to the gang, things may be difficult in or out of jail.   On the third day of the trial it emerged that audio had been recorded of the begining of Hernandez' direct examination, apparently from inside the courtroom.

Judge Engelmayer prohibited any further entry of phones or other electronics.   The government's initial estimate of a two to three week trial now seemed too long. Prosecutor Michael Longyear told Judge Engelmayer the government might complete its case by Wednesday, September 25.

Inner City Press will continue to cover this and other SDNY and 2nd Circuit cases - watch this site, and there is more on Patreon, here.


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