New Top Cop In Honduras Accused Of Cocaine Trafficking Ties

By Keri Blakinger 01/29/18
A confidential report alleges the officer helped a cartel leader deliver almost a ton of cocaine packed inside a tanker truck five years ago.
Jose David Aguilar Moran
Jose David Aguilar Moran Photo via YouTube

The new top cop in Honduras has a history of dark accusations stemming from alleged ties to drug cartels, according to the Associated Press

Jose David Aguilar Moran took the helm of the Central American nation’s policing operations earlier this month, but a confidential government report obtained by the AP shows that five years ago he allegedly helped a cartel leader deliver almost a ton of cocaine packed inside a tanker truck. 

At the time, Aguilar was working in intelligence, and he allegedly butted in even after another officer intercepted the drugs, to make sure they made it to their destination. The haul—1,700 pounds valued at around $20 million—was ultimately escorted to the home of Wilter Blanco, a notorious narco-trafficker now serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Nonetheless, during Aguilar’s January swearing-in ceremony, President Juan Orlando Hernandez praised the new chief as the one who he had the “utmost confidence” would help the agency become a “role model” in the region. 

“We are in a process of transforming the National Police, with a huge investment of financial resources,” said the president. 

When confronted about the cocaine-smuggling scandal, the Honduran government put out a statement calling the report a fake, and said it doesn’t match up to any “official communication from the Honduras Police.” 

Despite the government’s denials, a former National Police force member came forward confirming that the agency’s brass worked to cover up the incident. Another three current and past government officials also confirmed various aspects of the secret report. 

Aguilar himself did not immediately respond to the Associated Press’s requests for comment. 

But by this week, according to The Star, authorities started promising a thorough investigation of the allegations. The new vow comes in tandem with assurances of a corruption purge intended to root out shady officers in the nation’s police force. 

More than 4,000 members of the National Police have been booted for everything from corruption to voluntary retirement, the government said in a Friday press conference.

But even as they reiterated their plans to clean up the force, officials at the same conference continued denying the veracity of the document that sparked the questions in the first place. 

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.