Thursday, March 16, 2017

Los Cachiros testify to bribes paid to Tony Hernandez

Devis Rivera Maradiaga testified in Federal Court in New York today that he met with Antonio "Tony" Hernandez, brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and was promised that he would get government contracts for one of his cartel's companies if he paid Tony Hernandez a bribe.  Today's testimony came during Fabio Lobo's sentencing hearing.

Rivera Maradiaga in the testimony today testified that Tony said he would use the government contracts to help alleviate the debt the administration owned los Cachiros in exchange for a bribe.  Apparently Rivera Maradiaga recorded his conversation with Hernandez, and turned that tape over to the DEA.  He didn't state when the conversation took place.  However, because he recorded it, we know it took place sometime between December, 2013 and 2015 when Rivera Maradiaga was acting as an informant for the DEA.  Rivera Maradiaga said:

"Tony Hernandez was going to help us by paying some money to INRIMAR which the government of Honduras owed."

INRIMAR was the company that los Cachiros formed at the urging of Porfirio Lobo Sosa to receive government money from contracts for construction.  Porfirio Lobo Sosa was president of Honduras until January 27, 2014 when he was succeeded by Juan Orlando Hernandez.

Tony Hernandez has been implicated in numerous previous investigations into the drug trade.  He featured prominently in testimony Ramon Sabillon, a former police commissioner, swore was part of a conversation he had with a member of the Valle Valle cartel.  In that conversation, he was referred to as "The Brother of The Man".  He tied Tony Hernandez to the AA Cartel, run by the Ardon brothers in El Paraiso, Copan, Honduras.  The AA cartel collected money given to the Presidential campaign of Juan Orlando Hernandez from their drug trafficking.

Tony Hernandez personally defended two Colombians caught in a raid at a grow operation in the Department of Lempira.  Somehow the two prosecutor's who investigated the case were re-assigned to another part of the country just before the trial, leaving an unprepared prosecutor to pursue the case.  The judge then gave the Colombian's a preliminary dismissal of the charges and ordered them released from jail.  They then fled the country.  A later investigation of the case showed that a $150,000 bribe had been paid to the judge to release the Colombians.

Tony Hernandez was also linked with the drug trade by Captain Santos Orellana.  At the time Santos Orellana was named as a person of interest by the US Embassy.  He voluntarily came in to talk to the DEA, and later said on Honduran television that they interviewed him about a plot to kill the US Ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon.  They asked him if he could tie Tony Hernandez to the case.  They also questioned him about a helicopter found in Brus Laguna that had been used to transport cocaine.  He reported that he was told it had been used both by the then Defense Minister, Samuel Reyes, and Tony Hernandez.

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