Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado, a/k/a “Tony Hernandez,” Also Faces Charge for Lying to Federal Agents
Federal officials in New York today announced today that former Honduran congressman Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado, a/k/a “Tony Hernandez,” was charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, related weapons offenses involving the use and possession of machineguns and destructive devices, and making false statements to federal agents. Hernandez is the brother of the current president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez. Hernandez was arrested on November 23, 2018, in Miami, Florida.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, former Honduran congressman Tony Hernandez was involved in all stages of the trafficking through Honduras of multi-ton loads of cocaine that were destined for the U.S. Hernandez allegedly arranged machinegun-toting security for cocaine shipments, bribed law enforcement officials for sensitive information to protect drug shipments, and solicited large bribes from major drug traffickers. Thanks to the ongoing work of the DEA, Hernandez is now in custody on U.S. soil and facing justice in the U.S. courts.”
Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan said: “Drug trafficking and corruption around the world threatens the rule of law, fuels violence and instability, and harms innocent families and communities. Hernandez and his criminal associates allegedly conspired with some of the world’s most deadly and dangerous transnational criminal networks in Mexico and Colombia to flood American streets with deadly drugs. DEA looks forward to Hernandez facing American justice and answering for his alleged crimes.”
As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed in federal court:
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, machineguns.
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.