HomeNewsWell-planned Hospital Hit of Honduran Businessman Raises Questions

Well-planned Hospital Hit of Honduran Businessman Raises Questions


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.


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.


Related Content


In 2020, the US Department of Justice released a bombshell indictment charging sitting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other senior…

COCAINE / 15 SEP 2022

Uruguay is becoming an increasingly popular stop along the cocaine pipeline to Europe. But authorities are struggling to respond.

COCAINE / 4 MAY 2022

A shootout involving French police and suspected cocaine traffickers in the northern city port of Le Havre has dramatically underscored…

About InSight Crime


All Eyes on Ecuador

2 JUN 2023

Our coverage of organized crime in Ecuador continues to be a valuable resource for international and local news outlets. Internationally, Reuters cited our 2022 Homicide Round-Up,…


Open Position: Social Media and Engagement Strategist

27 MAY 2023

InSight Crime is looking for a Social Media and Engagement Strategist who will be focused on maintaining and improving InSight Crime’s reputation and interaction with its audiences through publishing activities…


Venezuela Coverage Receives Great Reception

27 MAY 2023

Several of InSight Crime’s most recent articles about Venezuela have been well received by regional media. Our article on Venezuela’s colectivos expanding beyond their political role to control access to…


InSight Crime's Chemical Precursor Report Continues

19 MAY 2023

For the second week in a row, our investigation into the flow of precursor chemicals for the manufacture of synthetic drugs in Mexico has been cited by multiple regional media…


InSight Crime’s Chemical Precursor Report Widely Cited


We are proud to see that our recently published investigation into the supply chain of chemical precursors feeding Mexico’s synthetic drug production has been warmly received.