US targets Honduran lawmaker, son, over alleged drug graft

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Washington on Friday accused a Honduran congressman and his son of alleged corruption and ties to drug trafficking, allegations that the congressman denied.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the designation targeting Óscar Ramón Nájera via Twitter, citing what he called the lawmaker’s “involvement in significant corruption.”

The U.S. Embassy in Honduras later issued a statement accusing Nájera of using his elected office to benefit from graft related to the group known as Los Cachiros, which Washington considers an important narco-trafficking outfit.

Nájera, 69, told The Associated Press that the allegations were false, that he was prepared to defend himself in any U.S. court and that the son mentioned by U.S. officials died in a 2009 accident.

He said he has worked for five decades commercializing foodstuffs such as meats, fruits, grains and oils. He acknowledged knowing the leaders of Los Cachiros because they were neighbors in Colon department, or province, from where he hails, but said he never did business with them.

“I am not going to deny that I knew them since childhood. I know their grandparents and their parents. They all know me,” Nájera said. “There are things that I cannot deny.”

Magistrate Roy Pineda Castro of the Superior Court of Accounts said the court has no open investigation against Nájera for purported illicit enrichment.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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