HomeNewsBriefHonduras Military Collusion w/ Drug Traffickers Remains an Issue: Report
BRIEF

Honduras Military Collusion w/ Drug Traffickers Remains an Issue: Report

ELITES AND CRIME / 26 OCT 2016 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

A recent report highlights the alleged collusion of Honduran military personnel with drug traffickers along the country's remote eastern coast, suggesting Honduras' current security force reform should also include the country's military.

According to El Heraldo, despite the presence of Honduras' armed forces in La Mosquitia, an inaccessible region that sits along the Caribbean Sea and Nicaraguan border, the area continues to be a vibrant drug trafficking corridor.

Anonymous anti-narcotics officials and military reports consulted by El Heraldo document that drug traffickers in this zone not only exercise control over local residents, but also soldiers and military officials.

In exchange for the unmolested passage of drug shipments, traffickers offer military personnel incentives in the form of cash payments, as well as access to social events and pre-paid prostitutes. For instance, traffickers pay up to $100,000 per plane to avoid radar detection, and $65,000 so officials do not scramble jets to intercept drug flights, reported El Heraldo.

In one case from 2011 documented by El Heraldo, an undercover anti-narcotics team consisting of foreigners offered a rear admiral $200,000 to allow a drug shipment to pass. The official accepted the offer.

Payments for military officials to simply abandon a zone, however, are reportedly higher.

One official recounted how he was removed from La Mosquitia after receiving an anonymous phone message regarding payment of $350,000 to leave his sector. The official reported the conversation to the head of Honduras' inter-institutional security force (Fuerza Nacional de Seguridad Interinstitucional – FUSINA) in the Gracias a Dios department, part of the La Mosquitia region. Soon after, however, he was ordered to leave the zone immediately by a brigadier general.

That same official said he was later falsely incriminated for accepting payments from a known drug trafficker.

Beyond turning a blind eye, military officials in La Mosquitia also allegedly provide weapons and relay instructions and orders to drug traffickers. Sources consulted by El Heraldo, however, assured that official collusion in La Mosquitia does not just involve military personnel, but also police, judges, prosecutors, and political elites.

InSight Crime Analysis

The remoteness of Honduras' La Mosquitia region makes it prime real estate for traffickers moving South American drugs through Central America en route to the United States and Europe. Previously, however, Honduran officials have claimed drug flights into the region -- many of which originate from Venezuela -- have been all but eliminated due to improved anti-narcotics efforts.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles 

Currently, there has been much focus on reforming Honduras' notoriously corrupt police force -- a process which has been praised for making progress. Yet reports like those by El Heraldo suggest gains remain to be made in eradicating the involvement of Honduran military personnel in drug trafficking as well.

Fortunately, recent developments leave cause for optimism that Honduras may be moving in the right direction on this issue, although progress appears to be spurred by US efforts in sniffing out military corruption. That is, on October 7, the United States announced a number of individuals were under investigation for allegedly belonging to the Atlantic Cartel, which operates in La Mosquitia. This included Honduras Army Captain Santos Orlando Rodríguez Orellana, who was subsequently dismissed from active service "in a dishonorable manner." 

Juan Antonio "Tony" Hernández, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, is another "person of interest" in the high-profile drug investigation -- he traveled to the United States on October 25 to speak with US officials regarding the drug investigation, and is now back in Honduras. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BARRIO 18 / 3 NOV 2015

A recent report details how youths in Central America's Northern Triangle region (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) are…

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 3 AUG 2016

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has named a man US authorities accused of drug trafficking as the country's new Interior minister,…

CONTRABAND / 21 FEB 2019

Oil theft in Honduras has been a reliable source of income for gangs for years, but the recovery of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…