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In Honduras Trial Ardon Describes Chapo $1M In Plastic To Tony Hernandez For Brother JOH

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 7 – 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. On October 7, sworn witness Alex Ardon described the meeting, with both El Chapo and Tony Hernandez present and the cash in plastic bags, see thread and see below.

The trial is before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel and Inner City Press is live tweeting it. See also Patreon here on the fast mention and shut-down of Nikki Haley's name.

  On October 7 Alex Ardon took the stand, estimating how much cocaine he trafficked into the United States and describing the meeting with El Chapo and Tony Hernandez. Here's some of how it went, from Inner City Press' live tweets:

With re-direct [of Dario Euraque, see thread] over, the next US witness is Alex Ardon. AUSA: Have you participated in torture? Ardon: Yes. AUSA: Do you know Tony Hernandez? Can you identify him? Ardon: Yes, and yes (pointed at defense table). Inner City Press @innercitypress · 1h AUSA: During what years did Tony Hernandez help you and your family distribute cocaine? Ardon: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013...

AUSA: Did Tony Hernandez tell you about his stamp on cocaine? Ardon: Yes. He told me a shipment was coming in with his stamp T.H. on it.  AUSA: Did you ever see Tony Hernandez armed? Ardon: All the time

Did Tony Hernandez talk to you about other guns?  Ardon: Yes, an M-60. It is a big gun.

Breaking: AUSA asked Ardon, did you meet El Chapo Guzman? Ardon: Yes, in 2013 in El Paraiso. AUSA: Was Tony Hernandez there? Ardon: Yes. AUSA: Were payments made? Ardon: Yes.

 Ardon: El Chapo Guzman said to Tony Hernandez, I am going to give $1 million for your brother Juan Orlando Hernandez. AUSA: Did you see the money? Ardon: Yes. It was brought in from the car in plastic bags. We counted it.

AUSA: Does Government Exhibit 314 fairly and accurately describe the weapon you just described as a bazooka? Ardon: Yes.  AUSA: How cocaine did you move into the US? Ardon: I don't understand the question.

AUSA: How cocaine did you and your family move into the US? Ardon: Around some 250 tons. AUSA: Did your relatives participate? Ardon: Hugo Ardon, Lionel Leiva... AUSA: What about brothers in law? Ardon: Yes... one was at the meeting with El Chapo.

 AUSA: What did your cocaine stamp look like?  Alex Ardon: "A double A."

 AUSA: Did Tony Hernandez tell you what he was using his lab for in Lempira? Ardon: Yes, he told me it was to rebuild kilos, like if they got wet.

 AUSA: What type of drug trafficking activities did Blanco do with you? Ardon: I would buy from him.. He would provide me security... We started working together in 2004. AUSA: When did you stop? Ardon: When Blanco was arrested.

AUSA: What departments of Honduras did Blanco do most of this business in?  With that, Judge Castel declares the lunch break, telling the jurors not to discuss the case. 

 On the afternoon of October 4 Tony Hernandez' lawyer Omar Malone questioned cooperating witness Victor Hugo Diaz Morales about shooting his wife in the face, and where all of his drug profits were hidden (farms and houses, it seems). More on Patreon here. Here are two exhibits, and here's how some of it went: "Tony Hernandez' lawyer Omar Malone is asking the cooperating witness how and when he got his deal. AUSA Houle objects, referring to privileged information. 

Malone: Do you recall signing a document that you would not falsely incriminate anyone? Witness (pause) Please repeat the question. Malone: You knew you were supposed to tell the truth during that meeting. Witness: The document was in English.

Malone: Do you remember an interpreter translating it for you into Spanish? Witness: I don't remember. Malone: Did Tony Hernandez come up in that meeting? Witness: I don't remember the topics that came up.

 Malone: I started out by asking you about being truthful- Judge Castel: Just ask the question. Malone: Would an honest man lie? Witness: I already told you, I was afraid. Malone: You never had any problem exacting punishment on people in your history, right?

 Malone: Are you telling this jury that despite your history you were afraid of this gentleman (gestures at Tony Hernandez) and that is why you lied to prosecutors? Witness: I cannot suggest anything to the jury.

Malone: When you were arrested you had a cell phone, right? Witness: Yes. Malone: They downloaded the information from your phone, right? Witness: Yes.  Malone: Did you use WhatsApp? Witness: No. Malone: So only phone and text and in person? Witness: Yes

 Malone: And the only way you can get that 40 year sentence reduced is if the prosecutors file something with the court that Mr. Diaz Morales has been cooperative, right? Witness: It will also have full detail of all my crimes.

Malone: You know you have to please the prosecutors with your cooperation in order to get that reduction request? Witness: That is not correct.  Malone: Is it fair to say you don't want to spend 40 years in prison in the US? Witness: That's right.

 Malone: Other than the ledgers and a cell phone, did you turn over any other evidence to the prosecution? Witness: Repeat me the question. Malone (specifies cell phone was turned over to DEA by Diaz Morales' lawyer in Guatelama) Witness: I do not remember that. Inner City Press @innercitypress · 2h Malone: Did you turn over millions of dollars? Witness: No. Malone: Where is the money? Witness: Please repeat the question. Malone: Can I have the court reporter repeat that? Witness: Part in property, and part is owned to me.

Malone: As a drug dealer, you did not have a bank account, right? Witness: That's right, I don't have one. Malone: What kind of property? Witness: A few houses and a few ranches [fincas]. Malone: How many fincas? Witness: More than two. 

Malone: Do you have a farm in Honduras? Witness: Yes. Malone: And houses in Honduras? Witness: It is my daughter's house. Malone: Does she live there? Witness: No. The house is under investigation. The ranch too.

 Malone: What did you do with your drug money? Diaz Morales: I don't understand the question. Malone: What did you do with the money? AUSA Houle: Objection - asked and answered. Malone: But he didn't answer.

Malone: Those five house and two fincas, they didn't cost the $72 million you made trafficking drugs.  Diaz Morales: In that period of time there were also expenses.

Malone gets Diaz Morales to admit he had someone killed - than asks him,  skepticism dripping: "But you're afraid of Tony Hernandez?" "Yes."

Now re-direct of Diaz Morales by AUSA Houle, to rehabilitate him it seems: "Did some of your expenses include bribes you paid to police and political campaigns?"

 AUSA Houle: "After you had Carlos Toledo murdered, the defendant continued to work with you on drug trafficking?" Diaz Morales: Yes. AUSA Houle: Were you charged with it before you arrived in the US? Diaz Morales: No.

AUSA Houle: So Exhibit 701 is your cooperation agreement, listing all the murders you admitted to. Will your sentencing judge be aware of all those murders? Diaz Morales: Yes. Houle: Has anyone made you any promises what sentence you will get? Diaz Morales: No.

Judge Castel tells the jurors, "Our work week is finished. Put the case out of your mind. Some of you will be watching the Yankees playoff game."

  On the morning of October 4 Assistant US Attorney Amanda Houle questioned a cooperating witness who along with describing bribes to the Hernandez brothers admitted flatly that he shot his wife in the face. Tony Hernandez' lawyer Omar Malone being his cross examination with just that point. But a 5K1 cooperator's letter seems in the offing. Here's how it went: "Judge Castel joked with the jury about the New York Mets, who fired their manager yesterday, and now the questioning about police and Prez' brother Tony Hernandez continues  AUSA: Did there come a time when Lozano told you he was going to be transferred? Witness: Yes. To Tegucigalpa. I asked Tony Hernandez to help get him transferred there, it was a more important location in terms of cocaine trafficking

AUSA: Did you speak directly to the defendant about the transfer? Witness: Yes. In 2007, I paid him $5,000. AUSA: Did you have any discussions with the defendant about the payment. Witness: Yes, he confirmed to me he had received the payment.

Witness: The defendant Tony Hernandez said he had made the transfer happen by using his contacts in the Tegucigalpa national police headquarters. AUSA: Is that that only time the defendant helped you with police transfers? Witness: No. Also Flores Santos.

 [Flores Santos' photo is entered into evidence as Government Exhibit 109 - as of last night, none of the exhibits available online to the Press yet - have requested.] AUSA: Why did you want him stationed there? Witness: It was the principle route to Guatemala.
Turns out Tony Hernandez was not the only one to put his initials on kilos of cocaine - Ruben Mejia did too: RM, the witness tells jury.  Witness: Ruben Mejia was the owner of a car dealership and a butcher shop too.

 Witness: So we met with Tony Hernandez to talk about how we could get small planes from Colombia to be able to land at clandestine airstrips on Honduras to traffic cocaine. Tony H told us the DEA was training Honduran helicopter pilots on night vision

Witness: the drugs were manufactured in a lab near the border of Colombia and Venezuela owned by Tony H... AUSA: What security was used to transport it? Witness: My workers escorted it to Guatemala. AUSA: Did they carry guns? Witness: Pistols and assault rifles

 AUSA: How much did you pay per kilo of cocaine? Witness: $10,000. AUSA: Did you make any other payments to Tony Hernandez for this? Witness: Yes. $5,000 for police checkpoints. And more for radar. AUSA: What was the destination? Witness: the United States

 AUSA: What did Cinco say about what percentage of that payment should be made in $100 bills? Witness: He said $1.5 million should be in hundred dollars bills. AUSA: Did you meet with Fernando Chang about this shipment? Witness: In San Pedro Sula in my house there

 AUSA: In 2009, did you make any payments to any campaigns? Witness: Yes - to the National Party campaign for Lobo as president and Juan Orlando Hernandez' re-election as Congressman. I have $100,000, from drug profits to which I am devoted

AUSA: Did you discuss that payment with the defendant?  Witness: Yes. He said if Pepe Lobo was elected and Juan Orlando Hernandez was re-elected to Congress we'd have more connection and access to information from the police and army

Judge Castel orders silence in the back of the courtroom, and declares a break. This thread will continue

 Okay, we're back. AUSA Amanda L. Houle is asking witness about his birthday party in 2010: "Did any other drug traffickers attend this party? How many?" Witness: About 10. AUSA: Who's shown in that photo? Witness: Bonilla. AUSA: Government offers Exhibit 104.

 AUSA Houle: What did Tony Hernandez say about Bonilla?  Witness: That Police Officer Bonilla was a man of great trust to Tony and Juan Orlando Hernandez, a man who was very violent and could commit murders.

AUSA: Did the topic of extradition come up?  Witness: Yes. Tony Hernandez said that even if the US Embassy asked for it, it could be slowed down or stopped in the Honduran Supreme Court Inner City Press @innercitypress · 3h Witness: By then, Juan Orlando Hernandez was running for president of the Congress. Tony H told me he was working on bribes with Javier and Lionel Rivera, and with the mayor of El Paraiso...

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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