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. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 28 FEB 2018

The justice and prison systems have managed to preserve the lives of the powerful once they are sentenced, but they…

HONDURAS / 10 MAY 2014

The massacre of 68 inmates of a prison in Honduras by security forces in 2003 shocked even a country accustomed…

CACHIROS / 4 NOV 2015

Two suspected members of what Honduran authorities are calling the "AA Brothers Cartel" have reportedly surrendered to security forces in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…