Honduras extradites drug suspect to US, a first
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Honduras has extradited a suspected drug trafficker to the United States for the first time, the U.S. State Department said Friday.
Carlos Arnoldo Lobo, 40, was extradited on Thursday, spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami on Friday afternoon.
Lobo, who is indicted on U.S. drug trafficking charges in the Southern District of Florida, was arrested March 27 when Honduran security forces surprised him in a bakery in San Pedro Sula near the Caribbean coast. His extradition was approved in April, and the Supreme Court upheld it last week.
Also in April, the U.S. Treasury Department levied sanctions against Lobo under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for allegedly moving multi-ton loads of cocaine for Mexican, Guatemalan and Honduran drug kingpins and their organizations.
The action seized his property and interests in property in the United States and prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions with him.
The Treasury Department alleges that Lobo moved drugs for Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, who was arrested in Mexico in February, and other members of that cartel, as well as the Honduran drug-trafficking organization Los Cachiros. Lobo also is suspected of laundering illicit drug proceeds into real estate, maritime vessels, and seafood shipping businesses.
The U.S. first sought Lobo in 2012, after Honduras passed a constitutional amendment allowing its nationals to be extradited to the U.S.
Lobo’s Miami attorney, Louis Casuso, said Friday that if the judge allows his client to enter a plea at his initial appearance, he would plead not guilty.
Psaki said Honduras’ historic extradition is a “blow against impunity for organized crime” and a sign that new President Juan Orlando Hernandez intends to crack down on drug trafficking in the violence-plagued Central American country.