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Honduras’ Supreme Court approves extradition of former president to the US

By Karol Suarez, Stefano Pozzebon, Valentina Di Donato and Harmeet Kaur, CNN

The Honduran Supreme Court has authorized the extradition of former president Juan Orlando Hernández to the US, where he will face drug trafficking and firearms possession charges.

The decision by the country’s highest court to reject Hernández’s appeal ratifies a March 16 decision by a Honduran judge to grant his extradition to the US.

The Honduran Supreme Court said in a statement that it voted unanimously in favor of extradition on the first charge “regarding importing a controlled substance to the United States.” A majority voted to extradite him on two charges related to firearms possession.

Hernández, who left office in January after eight years as president, will remain in custody until Honduran authorities coordinate with authorized agents to transfer him to the US, the statement said.

The former president was arrested at his home on February 15 at the request of the US government. About a month earlier, federal prosecutors claimed that Hernández helped an alleged drug trafficker deliver thousands of kilos of cocaine to the US in exchange for hefty bribes. His administration at the time denied the allegation.

Hernandez’s brother, Tony Hernandez, is currently serving a life sentence in a US federal prison for drug trafficking. According to court filings in that case, US authorities believe former president Hernandez was a co-conspirator in the operation, funneling drug money to help fund his presidential campaigns. Hernandez has repeatedly denied those allegations.

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CNN’s Matt Rivers and Caitlin Hu contributed to this report.

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