This summary is based on the Spanish language reporting published by Pro-Honduras Network (ProHN) on their Facebook page. Watch the video posted below.
What Happened Today:
** Victor Hugo Díaz Morales, nickname “El Rojo”, a collaborating witness for the prosecution continued to testify.
Key Details that Surfaced:
** In 2009, El Rojo gave $100,000 to Tony Hernandez to support Porfirio Lobo’s Presidential campaign and JOH’s congressional reelection.
** “El Rojo” named and detailed the fundamental role of Honduran police and military in trafficking drugs and ensuring the protection of drug traffickers. This included Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, the former Director of the Honduran National Police.
** Tony provided and charged “El Rojo” $55,000 for information related to drug plane radars and military/police checkpoints for each drug shipment.
** Tony Hernandez sold ammunition to “El Rojo” in metal boxes with the Honduran military’s logo on them.
** Tony operated his own drug laboratories in Colombia.
What Will Happen Tomorrow:
** Trial suspended until Monday when three witnesses will be called including a DEA weapons expert and collaborating witness, Honduran drug trafficker and former mayor, Amílcar Alexander Ardón.
Testimony from Collaborating Witness, Victor Hugo Díaz, alias “El Rojo”:
(Divided into sub-sections for clarity)
** Tony entered the trial looking happy today wearing the same suit jacket and tie that he has been wearing the last few days.
INVOLVEMENT OF HONDURAN POLICE AND MILITARY IN TRAFFICKING DRUGS:
** The Prosecutor spent a significant amount of time in the morning showing the power and involvement of the police in supporting drug trafficking and traffickers. Tony was consistently named as the person that provided “El Rojo” with military and police information, which facilitated his drug trafficking.
** From 2004 to 2007, “El Rojo” had met with various members of the Honduran police and Tony helped move police officials of his choosing to assist in drug operations but for a price.
** In 2007, “El Rojo” participated in meetings with Tony and Normando Rafael Lozano, head of the National police in Santa Rosa de Copan, Copan.
o “El Rojo” asked Tony to not transfer Lozano to Tegucigalpa because Lozano assisted transporting drugs into Guatemala.
o In 2007, “El Rojo” paid $5000 so that Lozano would not be moved to Tegucigalpa
** Between 2007 and 2008, police official Marcio Flores Santos worked with “El Rojo” in La Entrada, Copan and that “El Rojo” paid Tony $5,000 to have him transferred to western Copan (a critical drug transiting route, like in Santa Rosa de Copan, also in department of Copan)
** Tony told “El Rojo” that JOH would place Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla (1) in a key position inside his cabinet and that Bonilla would guarantee security for drug shipments and notified them of key police movements.
o Bonilla was a co-conspirator allowing the movement of Tony’s cocaine from Colombia, which was passed to allies in Guatemala and then Mexico.
o Tony also told “El Rojo” that “El Tigre” Bonilla was a person of confidence of JOH and that he was available to assist them in trafficking drugs. Tony said that Bonilla was violent and trained to kill.
** Tony told “El Rojo” that police official and JOH/Tony’s cousin, Mauricio Hernandez Pineda (2) helped with the importation of drugs and provided information of routes and police checkpoints in the department of Copan. Mauricio Hernandez Pineda and Hernan Hernandez, cousins of Tony and JOH, helped traffic drugs and gave information about investigations, movements of police, etc.
** Police official, Geovani Rodriguez provided “El Rojo” with security when he trafficked drugs in 2004.
o Trafficker Ruben Mejía presented “El Rojo” to police official Geovani Rodriguez. Ruben Mejía trafficked drugs from Colombia and stamped his cocaine with his initials ‘RM.’ Mejía was the owner of a butcher shop and a car rental and automobile supply store.
NAMES OF OTHER DRUG TRAFFICKERS:
** El Rojo mentioned drug trafficker Marlon Recinos who worked with Tony transporting drugs into Guatemala.
** Gave declarations of his participation with Tony Hernandez and the mini cartel from the department of Lempira that includes Tony’s right-hand man, Mario José Calix Hernandez (3).
** Another person mentioned was Mauro Flores Santos who was transferred to San Pedro Sula but he was needed in Copan because it was a key route for El Rojo. El Rojo paid $5,000 to keep him in Copan.
“EL ROJO’S” BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH TONY HERNANDEZ:
** Between 2004 and 2007, “El Rojo” purchased drugs from Tony Hernandez and his Colombian partner, ‘El Cinco’. “El Rojo” purchased three to four shipments of drugs from Tony per month.
o “El Rojo” purchased his first shipment of 400 kilograms of TH cocaine from Tony and his Colombian partner, “El Cinco.” “El Rojo” paid $10,000 for each kilogram of cocaine. El Rojo paid Tony $50,000 for information about the drug plan radars because the 400 kilograms were transported by plane. “El Rojo” also paid $5,000 for information on police and military checkpoints on the route
o The second shipment he purchased from Tony and “El Cinco” was 500 kilograms of TH cocaine. When “El Rojo” made this deal, Mario José Calix Hernandez was present. Again, “El Rojo” paid additional money ($55,000) for information on the radars and checkpoints. In this shipment, the cocaine landed in Gualaco, Olancho. Mario Jose Calix assisted with the movement of this shipment.
o The third drug purchase was made in El Espiritu, Copan where the Valle Valle cartel controlled drugs. El Rojo purchased 1,000 kilograms of cocaine from Tony and his Colombian counterpart ‘El Cinco’. Tony specified how he wanted “El Rojo” to pay him: he asked “El Rojo” to pay $1 million in 100-dollar bills.
** Later in a meeting in Gracias, Lempira in the ‘Finca El Capitán’ with Tony and Mario Jose Calix, Tony told “El Rojo” that his Colombia partner ‘El Cinco’ had been killed. He was now going to work with Nelson Gongora in labs that Tony owned in Colombia.
** El Rojo purchased ammunition from police officer Normando Lorzano, who received them directly from Tony Hernandez. El Rojo said he once purchased 4,000 to 6,000 ammunitions that were packaged in metal boxes with the Honduran military logo on them.
** El Rojo gifted two Rolex watches to Tony (one for his wife), a bull, and Peruvian horse, and two guns to thank him for the provided information.
“EL ROJO’S” DRUG TRAFFICKING:
** Between 2004 and 2010, El Rojo sent shipments between 8 and 10 months per year, and he sent 3 to 4 shipments of cocaine that were never less than 500 kilograms and usually between 500 and 1000 kilograms. And approximately 3 times/year, El Rojo would transport 2,500 kilograms of cocaine.
o In 2007 and 2010, El Rojo shipped 4 to 5 shipments of drugs/month.
** El Rojo said that a lot of drug traffickers put their stamp on their drug shipments.
“EL ROJO’S” DRUG WARS WITH DRUG TRAFFICKER “DON H”:
** In 2011, “El Rojo” went to Colombia because a drug war had started between him and Don H. He participated in two assassinations – the murder of Carlos Toledo and Javier Benitez Rosa. “El Rojo” said he killed them because they were positioning themselves in favor of Don H.
o In 2012, “El Rojo” returned to Honduras and met with Mario Calix Hernandez in the Finca El Capitan in Lempira. Together with Nelson Gongora, Tony told “El Rojo” that he would continue to receive information about police/military checkpoints along the route to Guatemala.
MARIO CALIX HERNANDEZ AS TONY HERNANDEZ’S MIDDLEMAN:
** In 2014, Mario Jose Calix purchased a drug shipment from Tony. Calix paid Tony to ensure that the drugs got to the Sinaloa cartel (in Mexico).
** Mario Calix became the middleman between “El Rojo” and Tony Hernandez. Mario Calix began receiving drug payments for Tony.
** Mario Calix purchased a cable business from “El Rojo” in 2002 – 2004 in Gracias, Lempira. (Its possible that Mario Calix is a collaborating witness of the prosecution to confirm information provided by “El Rojo”).
DONATIONS TO ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNS & PROTECTION FROM EXTRADITION:
** Said that he donated $100,000 to finance JOH and Pepe Lobo’s Presidential campaigns in addition to the $40,000 to JOH that “El Rojo” mentioned yesterday.
o In a meeting with Tony Hernandez in February 2010, Tony told “El Rojo” that JOH would be the next Presidential candidate. “El Rojo” responded that JOH was too young to be President. Tony responded that it didn’t matter and that few people knew of JOH’s candidacy. Following the February 2010 meeting, “El Rojo” offered the $100,000 for JOH and Pepe Lobo’s campaigns.
** In a later meeting (after February 2010) during one of “El Rojo’s” birthday celebrations, Tony mentioned that other drug traffickers would provide campaign donations to JOH – Alexander Ardón (4), Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga and Javier Rivera Maradiaga (5) (known as ‘Los Cachiros’)
** Tony told “El Rojo” that they would always be untouchable from extradition because extradition was a slow process that had to be approved by Honduran institutions.
** “El Rojo” offered Tony to give money to bribe politicians to allow for JOH’s election in Congress. Mentioned that Los Cachiros, Alexander Ardón, and Rodolfo Irías Navas (a current and long-standing National Party Congressman) were involved in bribing politicians to support JOH’s election.
** Said that Fredy Renán Nájera Montoya (a former National party Congressional representative for the Olancho department) and Oscar Ramón Nájera (current National party Congressional representative for the Colón department) were the intermediaries to bribe Congress representatives to support Mauricio Oliva’s election to President of Congress.
** Oscar Ramírez, alias “Alero” who is also a lawyer, was in charge of bribing Honduran judges and prosecutors. He defended “Don H” in some cases, bribing the judges and prosecutors to stop the legal procedures against him.
** “El Rojo” paid for Carlos Toledo to be killed (who presented “El Rojo” to Tony Hernandez in approximately 2004). Tony knew this and continued working with “El Rojo” anyways.
** “El Rojo” admitted to killing a 3-year old in the drug war with “Don H”. “El Rojo” paid to kill one of “Don H’s family member and his child was killed during the armed attack.
Expectations for the future testimony of Amílcar Alexander Ardón:
** Expected to be a extremely damning testimony with evidence of more campaign funding for Juan Orlando Hernandez and former President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo.
(1) Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla is the former head of the Honduran national police. He was appointed in 2012 and removed from his position mid-2013. Dana Frank wrote about Bonilla in her article ‘Thugocracy Next door”: “Immediately after Bonilla was appointed in May 2012, a former police inspector released findings of an investigation documenting that Bonilla had been a death squad leader overseeing assassinations of alleged gang members in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He continued to serve as the police director even after the Associated Press reported last year that the Honduran police under Bonilla’s control were responsible for at least six new death square “social cleansing” murders of alleged gang members.”
(2) Mauricio Hernandez Pineda, was requested by the Department of Justice for extradition on September 4, 2019 on charges related to drug trafficking. In the DOJ’s press release, Pineda is referred to as Tony Hernandez’s cousin.
(3) Mario José Calix Hernandez, Tony Hernandez’s right hand man who has several family members in powerful government positions in Honduras.
(4) Amílcar Alexander Ardon Soriano, is the former mayor of the western municipality of El Paraíso, Copan and is known in Honduras for building a replica of the White House as the municipal building in El Paraíso. Ardon worked alongside Tony Hernandez to traffic drugs. On January 23, 2019, the US Department of Justice requested Ardon’s extradition to the United States to face charges of “conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and related firearms offenses.”
Ardon’s municipality El Paraíso was the center of electoral fraud and drug-related crime in the 2013 Honduran general elections. Washington-based think tank CEPR wrote an excellent description of how the elections played out in El Paraíso when Ardon was still mayor.
(5) Los Cachiro brothers, Javier Rivera Maradiaga and Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, are drug traffickers that along with several of their family members, were extradited to the United States. According to Insight Crime, the Cachiros were “one of Honduras’ largest transport groups, with a net worth close to $1 billion.”