HomeNewsWell-planned Hospital Hit of Honduran Businessman Raises Questions
NEWS

Well-planned Hospital Hit of Honduran Businessman Raises Questions

COCAINE / 6 SEP 2021 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

Honduran businessman Wilkin Montalván's name came up in November 2018 when US agents questioned Tony Hernández, the president's brother, about drug traffickers. Three years later, somebody clearly wanted to see Montalván dead.

Intubated due to complications from COVID-19, Montalván was sedated when a gunman shot him twice in the head. The gunman and four accomplices, dressed as doctors, entered the private Tegucigalpa hospital on September 2 at about 5 a.m., heading directly for the Intensive Care Unit. The fake doctors were gone by the time hospital staff discovered Montalván had been shot, La Tribuna reported.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profile

Montalván, hospitalized for 16 days, was set to be transferred to Mexico to receive more specialized care, his brother, Milton Mateo Montalván, told reporters outside the morgue.

Police and Montalván’s brother gave no motive for the shooting or possible suspects.

Milton Mateo Montalván – the alternative representative for Olancho congressman Carlos Zelaya, of the Liberty and Refoundation (Libertad y Refundacion - Libre) party – said he was baffled by his brother’s killing.  

“We didn’t have problems with anyone,” he said. “If he had been threatened, we would have put security around him.”

InSight Crime Analysis

Though never charged with a crime, the Honduran businessman was fingered obliquely by one person: convicted drug trafficker and the current president’s brother, Tony Hernández.

Wilkin Montalván’s name came up while Hernández was interviewed by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents after his arrest at a Miami airport in November 2018. According to a transcript of the interview, Hernández said Fredy Najéra, a former congressman who himself pleaded guilty to US drug trafficking charges in 2018, told him to avoid Montalván because “he is close” with “Moncho Matas.”

The nickname "Moncho Matas" is likely a reference to Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros, a notorious Honduran drug trafficker who moved cocaine for the Medellín Cartel and who is serving a life sentence in the United States for drug trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Testimony Brings Honduras President Closer to Brother’s Drug Trade Ties

Hernández said that Nájera warned him that he was being set up “for a trap.”  But Hernández claimed his only business with Montalván was a highway project.

“I’ve been told many things about Wilken (sic),” he told the agents, adding later that he wasn’t interested in Montalván’s “secondary businesses.”

Though he apparently has never been charged with any crime, Montalván was linked to Matta Ballesteros' son Juan Ramón Matta Waldurraga, who served two years in prison after negotiating with US prosecutors to plead guilty to a single trafficking charge in 2017.

In July 2003, a drug flight crashed outside of an Olancho property owned by Matta Waldurraga. Police intercepted the plane after it struck a vehicle allegedly belonging to Montalván.

Milton Mateo Montalván – the alternative representative for Carlos Zelaya, the brother of former President Manuel Zelaya (2006 - 2009) – said Wilkin eschewed politics, dedicating his time to his gasoline and construction businesses. But he remained in the inner circle of Honduras’ political elites.

Montalván reportedly brought famed Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte to sing narcocorridos for then President Zelaya in the presidential palace. He was also reportedly investigated for possibly being part of a corruption network connected to Rosa Elena Bonilla, the wife of former President Porfirio Lobo Sosa (2010-2014). She was found guilty in 2019 of embezzlement and fraud, but the verdict was later dismissed.

The shooting death of Montalván was well planned, fitting a pattern of murders seen in Honduras in the wake of Tony Hernández’s 2019 conviction. Several people connected to the case have been killed, including a jailed drug trafficker whose ledgers were used in the trial.

Leonardo Pineda, a security analyst, told Radio América Honduras that Montalván’s killing might be part of a “reconfiguration” of drug trafficking networks in Honduras ahead of November’s presidential elections.

“A change of government is looming,” he said, “and loose ends are being tied up.”

Though the motive for the shooting death remains a mystery, whoever wanted Moltaván dead wasn’t about to wait to see if he succumbed to COVID-19. Milton Mateo Montalván told reporters that his brother had been fighting for his life when he was killed.  

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

COLOMBIA / 15 MAR 2021

A former chief justice of Colombia’s Supreme Court has been found guilty of corruption in a case that illustrates how…

BRAZIL / 5 APR 2018

Brazil's highest court has rejected a petition by former President Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva seeking to stay out of…

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 MAY 2019

Guatemala's upcoming presidential elections continue to be marred by a raft of graft probes as authorities in the Central American…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…