U.S. News

Five Honduran police accused of drug conspiracy surrender to U.S.

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Five Honduran police accused of conspiring to smuggle drugs have surrendered to U.S. authorities and been extradited to the United States, authorities said on Monday.

The policemen, who were charged in Manhattan federal court for planning to import cocaine into the United States, turned themselves in at Honduras’ Palmerola military base following a request for their extradition last week, Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco said.

They were flown to New York on a plane chartered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The voluntary surrender today of five police officers accused of drug trafficking is another blow to impunity in Honduras,” U.S. Ambassador to Honduras James Nealon said on Twitter.

Local media reported that a sixth officer who was also indicted may have fled the country.

Neither a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is prosecuting the case, nor a spokesman for the DEA, had any immediate comment.

The case comes during efforts in Honduras to clean up the country’s 12,000-member police force, which has long been accused of working with criminal gangs in the poor Central American country.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa and Nate Raymond in New York; Writing by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Simon Gardner and Peter Cooney