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Honduras to probe alleged drug cartel links with ex-president

Honduras’ former President Porfirio Lobo, delivers a message to the press in Tegucigalpa on March 7, 2017 © AFP / ORLANDO SIERRA

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Mar 9 – Honduras’s prosecutors said Wednesday they would investigate alleged links between public figures, including an ex-president, and the Los Cachiros drug cartel.

“The investigation will formally begin based on what was alleged by the gang member,” Prosecutors Office spokesman Yuri Mora said.

Devis Leonel Rivera Madariaga — a former boss of the notorious Los Cachiros cartel who has confessed to killing 78 people — said Monday he paid former president Porfirio Lobo (2010-2014) and his son Fabio hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He was speaking in testimony in a New York court in a case against Fabio Lobo, who is accused of drug trafficking to the United States.

Rivera Madariaga, who is being held in the United States, said his group’s contacts with the Lobos, other politicians — some still ongoing — and the police and military helped the cartel receive tonnes of cocaine in Honduras, a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates.

The drug was shipped from Colombia and Venezuela before it was sent on to Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.

Former president Lobo appointed his son Fabio as an interlocutor with Los Cachiros, one of the country’s largest drug gangs, Rivera Madariaga said, adding that he was put in charge of helping the gang with security.

Ex-president Lobo denies all accusations made, saying he never met with drug traffickers or received bribes from them.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Rivera Madariaga in December 2015 on charges of drug trafficking. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison plus 30 years.

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