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U.S. authorities indict Honduran congressman on drug trafficking charges

January 22, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
U.S. authorities indict Honduran congressman on drug trafficking charges

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Prosecutors in the U.S. charged a congressman from Honduras with using his influence to help a large-scale drug trafficking operation transport cocaine from Columbia to Honduras and then into the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice charged Honduran Congressman Fredy Renan Najera Montoya in New York, with conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S. He has also been accused of the use and possession of machine guns and destructive devices.

DEA officials indicated that Najera “participated in and supported the drug-trafficking activities of large-scale traffickers in Honduras and high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

According to Insight Crime, Montoya is alleged to have helped multiple drug cartels in Honduras receive massive quantities of cocaine from Columbia via air and sea routes.

The federal government indicated that Najera helped smugglers in planes transporting cocaine get to “clandestine landing strips in Honduras that were protected by armed personnel.” Traffickers then sold the drugs to the Sinaloa Cartel which then smuggled the drugs into the U.S.

Olancho Fredy Nájera was accused by the U.S. Justice Dept. with trafficking cocaine into the United States, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Court of New York.

The drug traffickers bribed public officials to carry out their criminal business, which included members of the National Congress of Honduras.

Officials added that one of the bribes included a payment of $50,000 to Fabio Porfirio Lobo, who was the son of the president of Honduras at the time. Lobo was later sentenced to 24 years behind bars for his role in the conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

“As alleged, Fredy Renan Najera Montoya used his power and influence as a congressman to help facilitate the transport of cocaine from Colombia through Honduras, and ultimately to the streets of the United States,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated.

The man has been charged with three counts: conspiring to import cocaine, using and carrying and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of the enterprise; and conspiring to use, carry, and possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the cocaine import business.

“Najera used his position in the Honduran Congress to facilitate drug trafficking and corruption while using security teams possessing dangerous weapons that threaten the rule of law and innocent lives,” Raymond Donovan, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Special Operations Division, said.

The United States is seeking to have Montoya extradited to the U.S. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of life in a federal lockup. The mandatory minimum sentence is ten years for the conspiring to the charge of importing cocaine, and a minimum sentence of 30 and 20 years, respectively on the weapons charges.

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