Honduras Curbs Narcotrafficking With US Assistance
By Julieta Pelcastre / Diálogo October 09, 2019
Cooperation efforts between Honduras and the United States enabled the blows dealt to transnational crime.
“Besides the drugs seized, several operations helped seize weapons, narco-labs, airstrips, coca crops, and cash that criminal organizations use to fund their illicit businesses,” Honduran Naval Force Captain José Domingo Meza, director of the Armed Forces Public Affairs, told Diálogo. “In addition, we disrupted 39 criminal gangs that engaged in narcotrafficking, murder, theft, and extortion.”
One of the operations took place on August 15. After Honduran, U.S., and Colombian intelligence units shared information, Honduran authorities intercepted the Flamingo III vessel in Gracias a Dios department, carrying 1322 pounds of cocaine worth $24 million. Authorities also captured eight alleged criminals on board.
According to Capt. Meza, those achievements were possible due to continuous preparation and rigorous training of new military skills, human rights instruction, equipment donations, and joint training exercises provided by partner nations such as the United States and Colombia, in addition to tougher laws and sentences, and an increase in social programs in country.
“Honduran judiciary officials, agencies, U.S. forces and all of us who are countering this scourge are making a tangible effort,” Honduran Army General Manuel Aguilera, commander of the Public Order Military Police, told the press.
“We carry out maritime patrols, air monitoring surveillance, and ongoing land patrols, especially in the country’s coastal zones where there are cleared areas to open up narcotrafficking routes,” said Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.
On September 13, the United States and Honduras agreed to strengthen information exchanges and law enforcement in border security operations, the Honduran government said.