Mexican drug baron Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman sent the president of Honduras a $1 million bribe, federal prosecutors claimed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.
The allegation was made during opening statements in the drug trafficking trial of Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado — the brother of current Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
In his remarks, Assistant US Attorney Jason Richman claimed the runty kingpin “personally delivered $1 million to the defendant for his brother.”
The president of Honduras denied the claim, tweeting hours later that “the claim itself is 100% false, absurd and ridiculous… this is less serious than Alice in Wonderland.”
A lawyer for Guzman called the allegation a lie.
“There’s not any testimony that Chapo Guzman bribed the Honduran president,” said Jeffrey Lichtman. “If anything, one of the government’s witnesses and their large stable of cooperators did it.”
Prosecutors Wednesday said the alleged Honduran drug trafficker used speedboats and submarines to smuggle hundreds of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States.
Richman claimed the country was drowning in corruption, and Hernandez felt invincible following his brother’s election.
“With his brother’s rise, the defendant gained influence,” the prosecutor said, adding there were “cocaine sales supporting dirty politicians, so the dirty politicians can support the drug traffickers.”
Defense attorney Omar Malone told jurors to beware of the government’s cooperators, who were criminals themselves.
“They will never be able to breath fresh free air unless the government says so,” he said. “They will never be able to have intimate time with their wife or their girlfriend and in some cases both unless the government says so.”
“That’s the kind of bias these people have of coming in here and falsely accusing Hernandez,” said Malone. “There is no evidence of drug trafficking on behalf of Juan Antonio Hernandez.”
Hernandez faces up to life behind bars if convicted on multiple counts, including conspiracy to import and export narcotics, weapons possession and making false statements.
Guzman was sentenced to life plus 30 years earlier this year, and is currently housed in Colorado’s “supermax” prison, ADX Florence.
This article was originally posted here