Fabio Porfirio Lobo, the son of former Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, was sentenced Tuesday in a federal district court in New York to twenty-four years in prison for the crime of conspiring to import cocaine from his country into the United States.
Lobo, 46, pled guilty last May following a plea bargain agreement with prosecutors. Under the agreement, Lobo admitted to having imported and distributed five kilos of cocaine in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014.
Lobo, who was originally facing life in prison, was sentenced at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, according to a federal prosecutor’s statement.
According to the indictment, Lobo was arrested in Haiti in May 2015 before his extradition to New York. He had been caught in a sting operation where he attempted to assist two alleged narco-traffickers transport the drug. However, his “associates” in the scheme proved to be undercover assets of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
They said Lobo hoped to profit personally from facilitating drug trafficking through the notoriously violent Central American country, which has long served as a major transshipment point for U.S.-bound cocaine smuggled out of South America.
“I apologize to the people of Honduras, to my mother and especially to my father, who has nothing to do with this,” Lobo said.
The indictment further states that Lobo used his family reputation, including that of his father Porfirio, both before the latter’s presidency and during it.
He also utilized his political connections as the son of the Honduran head of state to negotiate with the prominent organized crime and gang and drug cartel, Los Cachiros.
Honduran police were tasked with handling logistics and security. Seven of the ex-cops were also indicted for weapons and drug offenses, the federal prosecutor said.
The three former officers – Mario Mejia Vargas, Carlos Jose Zavala Velazquez and Victor Lopez Flores – pled guilty to charges of conspiring to export cocaine to the U.S. and currently await sentencing.
The federal official added that Lobo will have to pay a fine of US$50,000 and give up US$266,667 – money that authorities say was illicitly earned through drug trafficking.
Following the coup that overthrew democratically-elected former President Manuel Zelaya, Hernandez’s National Party predecessor, President Porfirio Lobo, was widely condemned for taking place under a coup regime with rampant violations of human rights. While the election was not recognized internationally by Latin American regional leaders and organizations, such as Mercosur and UNASUR, President Barack Obama endorsed Lobo’s election.