Secret report: Honduras’ new top cop helped cartel move coke

  • In this Jan. 15, 2018 photo, Honduras' new national Police Chief Jose David Aguilar Moran, center, leaves after a ceremony that transferred command to him in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. When Aguilar took over as Honduras' new national police chief, he promised to continue reforming a law enforcement agency stained by corruption and complicity with drug cartels, but a confidential government security report obtained by the Associated Press says Aguilar himself helped a cartel leader pull off the delivery of nearly a ton of cocaine in 2013. (AP Photo) Fernando Antonio

  • Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, (behind second from right) watches the change of command exchange ceremony between his new National Police Chief Jose David Aguilar Moran (left) and outgoing Gen. Felix Villanueva. AP

  • FILE - In this March 4, 2014 file photo, the sun sets in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The country in Central America has a population of more than 9 million and is one of the poorest and most violent countries in Latin America. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File) Dario Lopez-Mills

  • FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2017 file photo, anti-government protesters shout slogans during a government imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew as they protest purported election fraud in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Security forces have shot and killed demonstrators protesting a disputed presidential election that handed President Juan Orlando Hernandez a second term. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File) Rodrigo Abd

  • FILE - In this July 10, 2012 file photo, masked police pour gas on seized cocaine before burning them at a dump on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, after the drugs were seized from a Colombian aircraft that crashed near Los Lirios on July 3 following a chase by government aircraft. Security officials reported 1,300 pounds (600 kilograms) of cocaine were found on board and that most of it burned in the accident. Drug trafficking ties within Honduras' law-enforcement and political circles are well documented. (AP Photo/File)

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    FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, Honduras Police Chief Gen. Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, also known as the Tiger, or "El Tigre," salutes during an event in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, one year before he was fired on Dec. 19, 2013. According to a secret government security report, regional police chief Jose Rolando Paz Murillo told a low-ranking police officer who had busted him for escorting a cocaine shipment, that Bonilla and other top police officials were aware of what was happening with the drugs and ordered his release. Bonilla told AP the documents were fake. (AP Photo/File) Fernando Antonio

  • FILE - This March 11, 2012 file photo shows the bodies of Lesbia Altamirano and Wilmer Orbera on the bloody floor of a pool hall after being attacked by masked assailants in Choloma, on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Honduras, with a population of more than 9 million, is one of the poorest and most violent countries in Latin America. Much of the country is controlled by criminal gangs and it has endured widespread human rights abuses and impunity at the hands of the police and military for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File) Esteban Felix

  • FILE - This May 21, 2012 file photo shows a river snaking through the Mosquitia area near the remote community of Ahuas, Honduras, a region where the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration works with Honduran authorities to fight drug trafficking. In Honduras and the U.S., drug trafficking ties within Honduras' law-enforcement and political circles are well documented. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File) Rodrigo Abd

Published: 1/27/2018 5:05:29 PM

The newly appointed national police chief in Honduras, a key ally in the U.S. war on drugs, helped a cartel leader pull off the delivery of nearly a ton of cocaine, according to a confidential security report obtained by the Associated Press.

Chief Jose David Aguilar Moran, who was sworn in last week, called off local cops who had just busted a truckload of cocaine escorted by police officers in 2013, the report says. Aguilar, who was working his way up department ranks at the time, ordered the lower-level officers to let the drugs and cops go, which they did. The U.S. street value of the cocaine involved could have topped $20 million.

Cartel boss Wilter Blanco, who was running the drugs, was later caught with another cocaine load, extradited to the U.S. and is now serving a 20-year sentence in U.S. prison.

But Chief Aguilar’s involvement, documented in an internal report, was never publicly reported. And last week, in a solemn ceremony, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez promoted him to the nation’s top cop, saying that the appointment would further his years-long effort to root out corruption and modernize the force.

“We are in a process of transforming the National Police,” the president said.




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