The star witness against Juan Orlando Hernández, former president of Honduras, faces harsh questions from the defense – La Opinión

The star witness against Juan Orlando Hernández, former president of Honduras, faces harsh questions from the defense – La Opinión

With a history of 56 murders, Alexander Ardón, former mayor of El Paraíso, in Honduras, faced harsh questioning from the lawyer of former president Juan Orlando Hernández, in order to discredit him before the jury.

The questioning was led by lawyer Raymond Colón, who asked Ardón on several occasions about his murders and drug trafficking, in order to reduce the credibility of his testimony against Hernández, who faces drug trafficking charges.

The line of questioning made Ardón uncomfortable, considered the star witness in the case against Hernández, since he was one of his main partners in corruption and drug trafficking.

“I don’t remember,” he briefly responded to some questions about the victims of the former Honduran mayor during the judicial process in the Southern District Court of New York.

Ardón’s discomfort attracted more attention, because when responding to prosecutors his answers were direct and precise.

At the beginning of his interrogation, Colón asked Ardón if with his testimony he had asked the Prosecutor’s Office for an agreement in exchange for validation of the time he had already served in prison, -which would allow him to be released-, something that would have to be validated by the judge in the case, Kevin Castel.

Ardón answered in the affirmative and Colón immediately indicated: “You want all those crimes, murders, to disappear. Correct?”. The now convicted former mayor replied that “I’m just telling the truth and trying to have a new chance at life as a better person.”

“So now you are a better person?” Colón insisted and the witness, 49, assured that prison has changed him and that he is sorry.

In the presentation of the opening arguments of the trial, the defense assured the jury that the drug traffickers that the Prosecutor’s Office will present as witnesses have a long history of crimes and murders and that they have made agreements with the purpose of getting out of prison early – most of them with life sentences. – or achieve benefits for their family and that they only seek revenge on Hernández for having been extradited.

Former President Hernández, who has pleaded not guilty to the three charges brought against him by the US Government and which faces him up to life in prison, assures that he is “a victim of revenge and a conspiracy by organized crime and political enemies.” ”.

Ardón sat today for the second day in the witness chair, wearing his orange prison uniform, from where he specified Hernández’s alleged links with drug trafficking, including with the Sinaloa cartel, how he allegedly used police, military and the Justice of his country to protect them, how drug money paid part of his campaign for Congress and the Presidency but also that of his predecessor, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, to whom he claims he gave two million dollars.

Ardón even admitted that he won the mayoralty of El Paraíso, where he served two terms, buying votes.

He claimed that Lobo asked him during a meeting around 2008 for that money in exchange for protection so that Ardón could continue with his cocaine trafficking.

Ardón assured, during the interrogation by the Prosecutor’s Office, that he sent Lobo one million dollars to his house, and that the other amount was given to him during another meeting in which Hernández would have been present.

In this meeting Ardón reiterated three requests that he had made: protection from being investigated by the Honduran Prosecutor’s Office, a job for his brother Hugo in the Government – which was granted to him – and that the roads of El Paraíso be paved for the benefit of the community. and to facilitate the transportation of cocaine. Hugo Ardón was placed at the head of the agency in charge of road repair.

Lobo allegedly promised Ardón, who transported drugs for Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán through Honduras with the help of police officer Mauricio Hernández – the former president’s cousin – that if he won the Presidency he would put Hernández in the race. Presidency of the country’s Congress, which finally happened.

Ardón also pointed out that he asked Hernández, while he was president of Congress, to transfer Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, who at that time was the chief of the Copán police, and who was eventually promoted to chief of the national police. Mauricio Hernández and “El Tigre” Bonilla were co-defendants in this case and would face trial alongside Hernández but they pleaded guilty last month and are now awaiting sentencing.

Ardón also highlighted, when asked by the Prosecutor’s Office, that he felt free to traffic drugs because he had the support of JOH, who even promised him during his presidential campaign in 2013 that if he won those elections, he (Ardón) would not be deported.

With information from EFE

It may interest you:
• Former president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández was extradited to the US where he is accused of drug trafficking
• Juan Orlando Hernández: Supreme Court of Honduras ratifies the extradition to the US of the former president
• Why the US requested the extradition of the former president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández

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