New York: A former Honduran drug lord currently being held in the United States said Monday he paid large bribes to his country’s ex-president and his son in exchange for protection from prosecution.
Devis Leonel Rivera Madariaga — a former boss of the notorious Los Cachiros cartel who has confessed to killing 78 people — said he paid former president Porfirio Lobo (2010-2014) and his son Fabio hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He was speaking in testimony in a New York court in a case against Fabio Lobo, who is accused of drug trafficking to the United States.
Rivera Madariaga said his group’s contacts with the Lobos, other politicians — some still ongoing — and the police and military helped the cartel receive tonnes of cocaine in Honduras, a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates.
The drug was shipped from Colombia and Venezuela before it was sent on to Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.
Former president Lobo appointed his son Fabio as an interlocutor with Los Cachiros — one of the country’s largest drug gangs — Rivera Madariaga said, adding that he was put in charge of helping the gang with security.
Porfirio Lobo denied what he called “absolutely false accusations” in comments to journalists, saying he never met with drug traffickers or received bribes from them.
Fabio Lobo, who was in court dressed in a navy blue prisoner uniform, listened in silence, sometimes shaking his head at Rivera Madariaga’s statements.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) arrested Rivera Madariaga in December 2015 on charges of drug trafficking.
He faces up to life in prison plus 30 years.
The DEA also arrested Lobo in Haiti in 2015. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to import and distribute cocaine in the United States in May 2016.
He faces up to life in prison.