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Juan Antonio Hernández, the brother of Honduras’ President. Photo: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images)

Prosecutors in New York charged the younger brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández on Monday for allegedly conspiring to import “multi-ton loads” of cocaine from Central America into the U.S., among other charges.

The big picture: Honduras suffers from high rates of crime and violence, and thousands of Hondurans are fleeing to seek asylum in the U.S. Now, the brother of the country's president is accused of playing a major part in that culture of crime. President Hernández has called it a "heavy blow for the whole family," per Reuters. "I hope the justice system gives him the room to defend himself, and as a family, we will do what we can to support him."

The details: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials in a statement described Juan Antonio Hernández, a former member of the National Congress of Honduras, as a “large-scale drug trafficker who worked with other drug traffickers in, among other places, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico" for more than a decade.

Officials also said in the indictment that Hernandez was involved in the processing and distribution of cocaine that arrived in Honduras by planes, “go-fast vessels, and, on at least one occasion, a submarine.” He even has his own cocaine brand and laboratories in Honduras and Colombia that stamped packets with the symbol “TH” for Tony Hernandez, prosecutors say. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Go deeper

Inside Biden's Taiwan flubs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twice this year, President Biden has blurted out commitments that the U.S. is prepared to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion — forcing the White House to walk back his statements and leading to confusion over a high-stakes national security policy.

Why it matters: U.S. defense officials have publicly aired their concerns that China will take Taiwan by force in the next four to six years, perhaps sooner. The president's position on this question may soon have real-world, life and death consequences.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.