NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Honduran man linked by U.S. prosecutors to former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and other top officials plans to appeal his 2021 conviction on drug trafficking and related weapons charges, a court filing showed on Thursday.
Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, who was found guilty of smuggling drugs to the United States with Hernandez’s help, also plans to appeal a sentence to life in prison plus 30 years handed down by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel last week, according to a notice of appeal his lawyer filed in Manhattan federal court.
Fuentes’ lawyer, John Burke, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Earlier this week, Hernandez was arrested in the Central American country under a U.S. extradition request that seeks to force him to face drug trafficking charges in U.S. courts. At Fuentes’ trial, multiple witnesses testified that traffickers paid bribes to Hernandez, 53, in exchange for protection.
Hernandez, a one-time Washington ally who governed Honduras from 2014 to last month, denies any wrongdoing and says captured traffickers have faked evidence to smear him and reduce their sentences. A Honduran judge overseeing his extradition case has scheduled a hearing for March 16.
Last year, Hernandez’s brother, Tony Hernandez – a former Honduran congressman – was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for drug trafficking.
(Reporting by Luc; Editing by Sandra Maler)