Updated Mar 17, 2022 - World

Honduras judge grants U.S. extradition request for former president

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández presents his national statement during day two of COP26 at SECC on November 1, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Honduras' then-President Juan Orlando Hernández at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, last November. Photo: Andy Buchanan/Pool/Getty Images

Honduras' former President Juan Orlando Hernández can be extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking and weapons charges, a judge in the Central American country ruled on Wednesday night.

Why it matters: Hernández, who denies any wrongdoing, has since 2017 been accused of electoral fraud and was named as a co-conspirator in a New York drug trafficking case last year.

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month there's credible evidence that Hernández "engaged in significant corruption by committing or facilitating acts of corruption and narco-trafficking" and also that he may have used the "proceeds of illicit activity to facilitate political campaigns.

What to watch: Hernández could appeal the judge's decision to grant the U.S. extradition request.

The big picture: The former president, who left office in January, turned himself in to police last month after officers surrounded his home following the U.S. extradition request.

  • Hernández has said that drug traffickers made the claims against him in revenge for their being extradited when he was in power, per AP.
  • Representatives for the Biden administration did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Central American leaders targeted for corruption sanctions

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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