Police surround house of ex-Honduran president after US seeks extradition

Honduran police officers have surrounded former president Juan Orlando Hernandez's house to arrest and extradite him for corruption and colluding with drug traffickers.

Honduras's President Juan Orlando Hernández (photo credit: CLAUDIO REYES / AFP)
Honduras's President Juan Orlando Hernández
(photo credit: CLAUDIO REYES / AFP)

Scores of Honduran police officers on Monday surrounded the house of former president Juan Orlando Hernandez after the United States asked the government to arrest and extradite Washington's key erstwhile ally in the region.

Speculation has been swirling for months that the United States was planning to extradite Hernandez when he left office amid accusations that he colluded with drug traffickers. Leftist leader Xiomara Castro replaced him as president last month.

Washington's request for extradition represents a major about-face by the US government, which saw Hernandez as a vital ally in the volatile Central America region during his eight years in power.

The United States had already placed Hernandez on a blacklist, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this month said there were credible reports Hernandez "has engaged in significant corruption by committing or facilitating acts of corruption and narco-trafficking".

Hernandez could not be immediately reached for comment but he has always denied any links to drug traffickers.

HONDURAN PRESIDENT Juan Orlando Hernández rallies with supporters outside the Presidential House.  (credit: JORGE CABRERA/ REUTERS)HONDURAN PRESIDENT Juan Orlando Hernández rallies with supporters outside the Presidential House. (credit: JORGE CABRERA/ REUTERS)

The US Embassy in Tegucigalpa and the government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Honduran Foreign Ministry earlier in the day that the US Embassy had requested the arrest of a Honduran politician who has an extradition request to the United States.

The ministry did not disclose the name of the official but said the request had been sent to the country's Supreme Court.