A woman exits Honduran former President Juan Orlando Hernandez's residence
Political Crisis In Honduras Following Presidential Election Photo by Orlando Sierra/AFP via Getty Images

Former Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez's properties, financial holdings and other assets were seized by Honduran authorities on Friday. He is awaiting extradition to the United States to face drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Ministry spokesman Yuri Mora told the AFP that 33 properties, eight commercial businesses, 16 vehicles and several financial products belonging to the ex-president had been seized. Following the investigation of Hernandez's family, authorities "executed operations to secure and seize material and immaterial assets, commercial businesses and financial products linked to the family nucleus."

In January, Hernandez left the presidential office after eight years in power and service. He was a key US ally in its battle against drug trafficking. He was arrested in mid-February, a day after Washington requested his extradition. Following an appeal, a judge ordered his extradition, as confirmed by the Supreme Court.

The 53-year-old politician allegedly received millions of dollars from drug traffickers for protection, including Mexican drug lord and former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Hernandez faces three charges —conspiracy to import a controlled substance into the US, using or carrying firearms, including machine guns and conspiracy to use or carry firearms. After passing the power over to Xiomara Castro in January, the first Honduras female president, Hernadez lost his immunity.

Hondurans had long-awaited Hernandez's extradition, with critics celebrating the news as the ex-president was taken into custody in February. People consider it a significant step to hold a corrupt leader accountable.

Meanwhile, Hernandez has denied all the charges against him, claiming that he is the "victim of revenge and conspiracy." Together with about a dozen protesters, his wife, Ana Garcia, gathered outside the Supreme Court in Tegucigalpa to proclaim his innocence. "If a citizen is tried, they should be tried in our country," she said. If convicted, Hernandez could face life in prison.

Allegations against Hernandez reportedly emerged in two trials in New York — one through Hernandez's brother, the former Honduran congressman, Tony Hernandez and another one through Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez; both were sentenced to life in prison in the United States in March 2021 for drug trafficking.

A National Police truck stands guard outside Honduran former President Juan Orlando Hernandez's
A National Police truck stands guard outside Honduran former President (2014-2022) Juan Orlando Hernandez's residence at the San Ignacio neighborhood, in Tegucigalpa, on April 1, 2022. - The Public Ministry said 33 properties and 16 cars were seized from the former president, who is waiting to be extradited to the US on alleged drug trafficking links. Photo by Orlando Sierra/AFP via Getty Images

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