What Happened Today:
** Two witnesses testified: Collaborating witness Amilcar Alexander Ardon Soriano “Chande” continued on from yesterday; and Sandalio Gonzalez, a DEA agent that participated in Tony’s arrest.
** A video of Tony’s arrest and interrogation when arrested was shown to the court (see links below to watch all videos)
Key Details that Surfaced:
** Tony’s own words when interrogated upon arrest corroborate information provided by El Rojo and Ardon in their testimonies (see links to these video below).
** The identity of co-conspirator-5 (CC-5) was revealed today. It is Roberto Ordoñez, the Honduran Minister of Energy (from Sept 2014 - 2016) who met with Ardon on behalf of JOH.
** The defense put a photo of witness and drug trafficker Ardon with US Ambassador James Nealon on the courtroom screens and asked questions related to the photo.
** Ardon talked about another donation of $1.5 million to JOH’s campaign. This puts total campaign donations at a minimum of $5.54 million.
** The judge told the court that someone had taken pictures of a juror in an intimidating manner during the break and that incident would be investigated.
What Will Happen Tomorrow:
** Tomorrow is Yom Kippur and the court will not be in session. More witnesses will be called when trial is in session against on Thursday.
** Tony/JOH’s mother attended the trial, some aunts, uncles, and brothers were also present in the courtroom.
** The judge stopped the trial to inform the court that one of the jurors had reported that someone attending the trial had taken pictures of the juror. The judge said this was a form of intimidation and obstruction of justice. The judge had ordered an investigation.
Continuation of Testimony of Drug Trafficker, Amilcar Alexander Ardon Soriano:
INFORMATION MENTIONED YESTERDAY AND REPEATED TODAY
** Ardon reiterated but added more detail to many of the facts and events he mentioned yesterday. These include:
o Being involved in or conspiring in 56 murders, 2 of which Tony Hernandez participated in directly (Ex. Murder Franklin Arita). El Chino was murdered in northern department of Colon while in prison after Tony Hernandez and Ardon ordered his killing. El Chino knew all about Tony’s drug involvement and helicopter movements.
o Discussed the bribes that JOH and Lobo’s campaigns received from Ardon.
o Ardon confessed that JOH requested money to gain electoral control in areas in Western Honduras. Ardon confessed to giving $50,000 for mayors throughout Lempira. Ardon said he gave $1.6 million for bribes in the department of Copan.
o Tony’s defense and the prosecutor asked Ardon if he was worried about being extradited to the US from Honduras. Ardon responded that he was not because Tony and JOH protected him.
§ He turned himself in because one of his closest associates (Tony) had been arrested.
PAYING FOR SECURITY, PROTECTION & IMPUNITY & JOH NOT KEEPING HIS PROMISES
** Regarding the $1 million received to JOH and Tony, Ardon noted again that it was for protection not just for drug shipments but also to not be extradited to the US.
o Ardon was asked if Honduran authorities had ever been accused of any crimes including murder in Honduras. Ardon responded no, none.
** The $1 million given by El Chapo to JOH was not just in exchange for protection for El Chapo, Ardon and others, but also for protection for the Valle Valle cartel.
o When El Chapo offered the $1 million to JOH through Tony, Tony said that he was going to consult with his brother about it. JOH then approved the donation and asked Tony to receive it for him.
o In a meeting between Ardon and JOH, Ardon asked what was going on in relation to the arrests of the members of the Valle Valle cartel. Ardon told JOH that El Chapo was pressuring him (re. Valle Valle arrests). JOH responded that he didn’t receive the $1 million bribe (in exchange for protection) but that JOH had told Tony to keep the $1 million. JOH said that if he wanted the $1 million, he would return it.
VALLE VALLE ARRESTS & HEAD OF POLICE, RAMON SABILLON
** Former head of the police, Ramón Sabillón (1) participated in the arrests of the Valle Valle cartel in 2014 (despite protection money given by El Chapo’s $1 million to JOH). Following the arrests, Sabillón had asked JOH, why Tony and Ardon were not being arrested as well. Ardon said because the Valles were arrested for attempting to kill JOH.
** Tony Hernandez told Ardon that Ramón Sabillón would be removed from his position because he was onto Ardon’s drug trafficking business.
ARDON’S RELATIONSHIP WITH JUAN ORLANDO HERNANDEZ & ROBERTO ORDONEZ (CC-5).
** Juan Orlando Hernandez met with Ardon in his house in Copan to discuss issues related to drug trafficking and security, but also would meet in the Fondo Vial’s [a government transportation institution] offices in Tegucigalpa. Then at a certain point in time, JOH stopped wanting to go to the meetings with Ardon so he sent Roberto Ordoñez, Honduras’ Energy Minister and JOH’s Electoral campaign chief, to tell Ardon that he represented JOH and that JOH was firing Hugo Ardon [Amilcar Alexander Ardon’s brother] from his position in the Fondo Vial. JOH said that the Honduran media was starting to report that Ardon was involved in drug trafficking and that it was best to be out of the public eye. But JOH told Ardon not to worry, that his brother would be given a position in his electoral campaign.
o (Speculations of co-conspirator 5 (CC-5)’s identity have left many Hondurans guessing who CC-5 really is. Today, it seems like CC-5’s identity was confirmed when Ardon mentioned Roberto Ordoñez, Honduras’ Minister of Energy (Sept 2014 - April 2016) & Minister of SOPTRAVI (Sept 2014) who attended meetings on behalf of JOH.
** In 2013, Amilcar Ardon did not seek reelection because JOH asked him not to. But Ardon made another donation of $1.5 million to JOH’s campaign.
** In 2013, El Chapo met with Don Amado, Ardon and others in El Espiritu, Copan [western Honduras] where the Valle Valle family lives. When El Chapo arrived, he arrived with bodyguards. Honduran police provided security as well. This meeting occurred in a finca owned by the Valle Valles. El Chapo said he wanted security for drugs coming from Nicaragua and into Guatemala.
** Ardon mentioned that JOH would ask Carlos Pineda Fasquelle to set up meetings with Ardon when they got together.
** Out of fear (specifically after drug traffickers started to be extradited to the US), Ardon started to collect evidence of his meetings with Tony, El Chapo and JOH.
** JOH asked Mauricio Pineda Hernandez (Tony/JOH’s cousin) to call Ardon to ask him if he had turned himself into US authorities. At the time, Ardon was in El Paraíso, Copan. To be sure that Ardon was telling the truth, Pineda Hernandez asked him to call someone to verify his location.
ARDON’S DRUG BUSINESS, INVOLVEMENT IN CRIME & FAMILY
** The list of the all the people that Ardon had killed or conspired to kill was shown to the jury today. On that list was Alfredo Landaverde (Advisor to Honduras’ drug czar. Landaverde was murdered in December 2011). Landaverde’s killing occurred when JOH and Tony were involved in drugs and receiving money from Ardon.
** Ardon was asked if he kept drug ledgers for his drug activities. He responded that he did but they were entrusted to Melvin Pinto. and then were destroyed.
** Ardon admitted that he made between $200 and $250 million running drugs. With his drug money, he purchased 15 ranches, houses, farm equipment, etc.
** Ardon said that his mother and his family know he’s a drug trafficker. His family had an agricultural business in Copan and used it to look ‘legit’. His family is in Spain (for safety reasons) and they went to the US to visit him three weeks ago.
DEFENSE SHOWS PICTURE OF UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR JAMES NEALON WITH ARDON:
** We asked Hondurans inside the courtroom about which US Ambassador was in the picture with Ardon. They told us it was James Nealon even though his name is not specifically mentioned in the tweets below.
Testimony of DEA Agent Sandalio Gonzalez
** Discussed his involvement in the arrest and interrogation of Tony Hernandez on November 23, 2018 in the Miami airport.
** US agents including Gonzalez saw Tony get off the plane in Miami and go directly to the bathroom. They followed him. Gonzalez entered the bathroom to monitor the situation. They let Tony leave the bathroom and then arrested him in an area where there were few people inside the airport.
o Tony was then taken to the Custom Border Protection (CBP) area inside the airport and then to the offices of the DEA where they questioned him and read him his rights and the charges against him.
THE VIDEO OF TONY’S ARREST AND INTERROGATION BY US AUTHORITIES IN MIAMI AIRPORT
** While the video was being shown in the trial, Tony looked very worried. His mother’s face looked tense.
** The video of Tony’s arrest on November 23 in the Miami airport, 2018 was shown to the jurors with an English translation.
o Tony seemed like he was “collaborating” with the agents like he did in 2016 but he continued to lie. Tony’s lawyer was called but he was either busy or didn’t answer and Tony opted to continue in the interrogation.
o Tony was visibly nervous and continued to lie saying he was a friend of Ardon’s and Toledo’s. Tony admitted to receiving gifts like a watch and a horse from them and that everyone knew what they were involved in but Tony said he didn’t want to get involved in that type of business.
o In the video, Tony admits to knowing various Honduran drug traffickers saying that Mario Toledo was Tony’s close friend who stayed in Tony’s house but who was later murdered. Tony addmited to knowing “El Rojo” and meeting him in San Pedro Sula. He said that “El Rojo” had given him a horse through Toledo. He admitted to knowing or meeting with Don H twice. Admitted to knowing the Valle Valles, Los Cachiros and “Toño Frontera”, etc. He said that he met with Ardon and knew he was a drug trafficker. When asked in the video how he knew that Ardon was a trafficker, he said that he noticed that he was doing well economically and Tony assumed that he must be involved in drugs. Tony said he knew Hugo Ardon and knew he worked in the Fondo Vial. He admitted also knowing Mario Jose Calix. Tony admitted receiving gifts from drug traffickers.
o Tony mentioned drug routes used by drug traffickers. When asked by the agents how he knows the routes, Tony responds that his friends (the drug traffickers above) told him about them.
** Tony’s interrogation corroborates facts that El Rojo and Ardon mentioned in their court testimonies such as where he met El Rojo, drug routes, etc.
A BLACKBERRY CONVERSATION (TEXT MESSAGE CONVERSATION?) WAS PRESENTED:
** This was removed from Tony’s phone at the time of his arrest.
** The image of the cocaine stamped with TH was extracted from Tony’s phone that was seized at the time of his arrest.
(1) RAMON SABILLON was the Head of the Honduran National Police. Sabillón was head of the police for almost a year but was dismissed from the institution in November 2014. Sabillon participated in the arrests of members of the Valle Valle cartel. Honduran media, specifically Radio Globo reported at the time that Sabillon went around President Juan Orlando Hernandez, defied his orders, and arrested the Valles together with elite forces trained and working with the U.S. government. After he was dismissed, he denounced that his and his family’s life were in danger.