A drug lord wanted for allegedly shipping massive shipments of cocaine from South America to the United States was extradited to Texas on Thursday morning.
Honduran national José Luis ‘Lord of the Skies’ Oliva Meza was handed over to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents at a military base in Tegucigalpa at 6:45 a.m. local time before the agency’s plane flew leaves for the United States about two hours later.
Oliva Meza, who also holds Nicaraguan citizenship, faces two counts in the Eastern District of Texas.
Honduran drug lord José Luis Oliva Meza is escorted by authorities from an air base in Tegucigalpa, where he was handed over to Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Thursday morning for extradition to Texas, where he faces charges. drug trafficking charges.
The US Department of Justice requested the extradition of José Luis Oliva Meza in April 2021
The United States Department of Justice filed an extradition request in April 2021.
Oliva Meza is charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a traceable amount of cocaine, with intent, knowledge and reasonable cause to smuggle it into the States -United.
Federal prosecutors also charged him with producing and distributing five pounds or more of a mixture and substance containing a traceable amount of cocaine, with intent, knowledge and reasonable cause to smuggle it in. in the USA.
He is also accused of using speedboats, fishing vessels, submarines and planes to smuggle drugs from South America to the United States.
Oliva Meza had been in detention since May 15, when he was arrested in the northern Caribbean province of Atlántida.
Jose Luis Oliva Meza, a Honduran drug lord known as the “Lord of Heaven”, had been in custody since May 15, when he was arrested in the northern Caribbean province of Atlántida.
Special Forces escort suspected drug trafficker José Luis Oliva Meza to a plane at a military base in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, before he is extradited to Texas to face drug trafficking charges. At least 34 Hondurans have been handed over to US federal agents since 2014
He had previously been arrested in August 2020 for illegal possession of a handgun.
In 2021, a Honduran court sentenced Oliva Meza to five years in prison for money laundering and fined her nearly $7,000.
No less than 34 Hondurans accused of drug trafficking have been extradited to the United States since 2014.
Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (center) is taken on a plane in handcuffs at an air force base in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on April 22, moments before his extradition to the United States.
Juan Antonio Hernández (pictured in 2017) was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy case in federal court in New York in October 2019 and sentenced to life in prison in March 2021. He is the brother of the former president Honduran Juan Orlando Hernandez.
The most high-profile suspect was former President Juan Orlando Hernández, who was turned over to the DEA in April to face drug and weapons charges in New York.
A former ally in the United States’ battle to destroy drug cartels, Hernández allegedly conspired to smuggle thousands of pounds of cocaine into the United States from 2004 to 2022.
He had sworn to “shove drugs up the gringos’ noses” and received millions of dollars to “use his civil service, law enforcement and military to support drug trafficking organizations in Honduras, Mexico and elsewhere”.
Hernández was arrested at his home in Tegucigalpa on February 15 after US authorities filed an extradition request nearly three weeks after his eight-year presidential term ended.
He allegedly received millions of dollars from drug cartels, including notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
In 2019, the trial of his former congressman brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, a key government witness testified in New York court that Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán had contributed $1 million before the 2013 presidential campaign of Juan Orlando Hernández in exchange for protection.
The future president sent his brother and an associate – who has not been identified – with machine guns to collect payment from El Chapo.
Federal prosecutors allege he used the money to fund his 2017 presidential election and engaged in voter fraud.
Juan Antonio Hernández was convicted by the Southern District of New York of drug and firearms trafficking in October 2019. He was sentenced to life in prison in March 2021.