Former Honduran Police Director Accused of Drug Trafficking Charges in U.S.
The Justice Department has filed drug trafficking charges against Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, a former director of the Honduran National Police.
The Justice Department has charged Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, who was the Director of the Honduran National Police from May 2012 to December 2013, with the alleged crimes of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States, possession and use of machine guns and destructive devices in connection with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to use and machine guns and destructive devices in connection with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.
Bonilla Valladares, whose whereabouts are unknown at this time, was removed from his position as police director at the request of then-President-elect Juan Orlando Hernández, who reportedly asked Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa to remove him, according to the president's statement.
However, despite the efforts of the Honduran president to disassociate himself from the accusations against Bonilla Valladares, in the statement of charges presented by the Department of Justice he is mentioned as CC4, "Co-Conspirator 4".
This link to the crimes allegedly committed by Bonilla Valladares is reinforced by the fact that the president's brother, Juan Antonio "Tony" Hernández Alvarado, was found guilty of drug trafficking charges last year in New York, and is currently waiting for his sentence to be determined in June of this year.
According to the charges filed by the Justice Department, Bonilla Valladares allegedly conspired to move tons of cocaine - from Colombia and Venezuela - through Honduran air and sea territory.
Bonilla Valladares allegedly used his superiority and influence to prevent the cocaine shipments from falling under the control of the relevant authorities and successfully reaching the United States. One of the resources used to facilitate the free transit of drugs is said to be the payment of extortion, which President Hernández would have benefited from.
A month ago we saw the same institution bring charges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for corruption, narco-terrorism and drug trafficking. In the charges brought against Maduro, he allegedly facilitated the conditions for transferring cocaine produced in Colombia through Venezuelan territory and putting it on route to the United States via Honduran territory.
According to a statement issued by the Department of Justice, Maduro has been involved in these activities for the past 20 years.
There is no mention of Bonilla Valladares in the charges filed against President Nicolas Maduro, nor is there any mention of the former in the charges filed against the latter. However, there seems to be a relationship both in the type of alleged crimes they are accused of, and in the timing and routes they would have used if the charges were proven true.
For the time being, both are presumed innocent. Bonilla, from wherever he is, declared to the Honduran media La Prensa "One thing is what is said and another is the truth. I have no problem going anywhere to face reality. I've never been called by the State Department, I've always reported on my work and I've never had ties to structures of this nature."