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LATIN AMERICA | 26-07-2022 16:00

Honduras extradites alleged drug matriarch to the US

Honduras hands over gang grandame for US trial; sexagenarian Herlinda Bobadilla arrested in mountainous cartel shootout which killed son.

Honduras on Tuesday extradited Herlinda Bobadilla, a 61-year-old alleged gang leader arrested in a shootout that killed one of her sons, to the United States on drug charges.

A US indictment alleges Bobadilla, also known as Chinda, and two of her sons led the "Los Montes" drug cartel – one of the largest in Honduras.

Los Montes is "responsible for the distribution of multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the United States valued at millions of US dollars," the indictment said.

The clan matriarch was captured with three other people in the mountainous department of Colón in the country's northeast in May.

One of her sons, Tito, was killed in a shootout. Another fled and is still on the run.

The trio had allegedly taken control of Los Montes after Bobadilla's other son, Noé Montes-Bobadilla, was arrested and extradited to the United States in 2017 and subsequently sentenced to 37 years in jail for drug trafficking.

In handcuffs and surrounded by members of the special forces, Bobadilla was taken Tuesday to the air force base at Toncontín near the capital Tegucigalpa.

She was handed over to six members of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and escorted onto a plane that took off for the United States.

She will be tried in the Eastern District Court of Virginia on a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine to be "unlawfully imported into the United States," according to the indictment.

Honduras is a major transit country for Colombian cocaine and other narcotics headed mainly to the United States.

The US had offered rewards of up to US$5 million for information leading to the capture of Bobadilla and her sons.

In April, former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández was also extradited to the United States on drug charges just over a year after his brother Tony was sentenced in New York to life in prison.

In May, Honduran former police chief Juan Carlos Bonilla was also sent to the United States to stand trial for allegedly supervising drug trafficking operations on behalf of his boss, Hernández.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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