HomeNewsBriefDid ‘El Chapo’ Give a Private Plane to a Honduras Politician?
BRIEF

Did 'El Chapo' Give a Private Plane to a Honduras Politician?

EL CHAPO / 27 MAY 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

A Honduras government investigation has reportedly revealed that a mysterious private plane found at an airport several years ago was a gift from Mexico's most famous drug lord to a prominent politician, a strange story that may actually be plausible.

On May 26, Honduran Congressman Mario Perez stated that a private plane that mysteriously landed at capital city Tegucigalpa's Toncontin airport in 2006 was a gift from Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to an unnamed high-level official in the government of former President Manuel Zelaya, reported La Prensa.

Perez said the plane had reportedly landed around midnight -- after the airport's lights were off -- and that someone at the airport had given the order to turn the lights back on and switch off security cameras. However, after several days passed and no one came to claim the plane, which was valued at $20 million dollars, Honduran authorities seized it and eventually sold it at an auction for $736,000 dollars, reported El Heraldo.

The pilots, who were Mexican nationals, initially stated that they flew the plane to Honduras to show it to an interested buyer. Since then, however, one of the pilots has signed a written declaration that it was Sinaloa Cartel boss El Chapo who sent the plane to Honduras.

The case is one of 13 ongoing corruption investigations being monitored by a congressional committee led by Perez.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite the relative lack of details and unconfirmed veracity of these reports, the idea that El Chapo would send a private plane to a Honduran politician as a gift is entirely plausible.

According to court testimony, El Chapo owned a fleet of jets he used to traffic drugs from Latin America into the United States, and had also purchased turboprop aircraft. In addition, before his capture in 2014, rumors had surfaced that El Chapo may have been living in Honduras, where the Sinaloa Cartel has establishedstrong presence.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of El Chapo

Numerous Honduran officials and political elites have also been linked to drug trafficking, the most recent example being the son of former President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, who was recently arrested on drug trafficking charges. However, Honduran politicians' drug trafficking links have traditionally been with local figures and groups like the Cachiros, not international traffickers like El Chapo Guzman, casting some doubt on Perez's allegations.

This case also speaks to the slowness of Honduras' justice system, since nine years have passed since the plane arrived in the country and investigations are still ongoing. 

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