Drug trafficker says he bribed Honduran president and son

From the Washington PostNEW YORK — A man who led a violent Honduran drug trafficking organization has told a federal court in New York that he bribed a president of the Central American country.

Devis Rivera Maradiaga, a onetime leader of a gang known as the Cachiros, made the allegation while testifying Monday in a pre-sentencing hearing for the son of now retired Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The son has pleaded guilty to cocaine smuggling.

Rivera said he paid Lobo and the son to protect the gang’s operations and to secure government contracts to help launder money.

The former president denied the claims. “I never received money from those criminals,” Lobo told reporters from his home on the outskirts of the Honduran capital Tuesday.

Rivera described a series of payments in 2009-2013 that he said were aimed at buying protection from the president to move South American drugs destined for the U.S. into Honduras and to keep him and his brother from being extradited to the U.S. to face charges. He testified that he met with Lobo, at one point passing a suitcase with about $300,000 to the president through his security detail.

Rivera also said that he and other traffickers arranged to have a senior Honduran security official killed and that he worked with the president’s son, Fabio, to get government contracts so he could launder proceeds from the drug trade. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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