Former Honduran congressman gets 30 years in drug conspiracy

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge in New York on Thursday sentenced a former Honduran congressman to 30 years in prison for his role in a large-scale drug trafficking operation that prosecutors say had imported more than 30 tons of cocaine into the US.

Fredy Renan Najera Montoya had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and a gun offence. In addition to the sentence handed down by US District Judge Paul Gardephe, 46-year-old Najera was sentenced to $39 million forfeiture and a $10 million fine.

An email was left on Thursday with a lawyer representing Najera.

According to the US law firm in Manhattan, Najera helped distribute more than 30 tons of cocaine from the Honduras region that he represented in his government role between 2008 and 2015. That included building clandestine airstrips in Honduras that received cocaine shipments from Venezuela and facilitating the drug’s movement to western Honduras to be shipped to the US, prosecutors said.

Security forces protecting the drug gang used military-grade weapons, including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and Najera cultivated relationships with members of the Honduran National Police and military to help traffickers avoid arrest, prosecutors said.

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They said he would also have suggested members of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel to Honduran officials to give the cartel access to the shipping hub in Puerto Cortés, Honduras.

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