TEGUCIGALPA – A Honduran court has found a Mexican and two Hondurans guilty of conspiring to assassinate Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, according to the judicial ruling made public on Sunday.
Mexican citizen Jesus Gumaro Jaime Estrada and Hondurans Victor Lorenzo Flores and Jose Javier Contreras were found guilty of conspiring to kill Hernandez in 2014.
The Honduran panel of judges, who were unanimous in delivering their verdict after a court session lasting into Saturday night, set April 24 as the date for pronouncing the sentences to be handed down against the trio.
Flores and Contreras were also convicted of illicit association harmful to Honduran national security, the court ruling said.
There were evidently six people closely involved in the assassination plot – the three found guilty of conspiracy along with Mexican Everaldo Enrique Figueroa and two other Hondurans, Karla Sinai Ulloa and Hector Antonio Vasquez.
Figueroa and Sinai Ulloa were acquitted before trial, while Vasquez was convicted only of illicit association, a crime of which Estrada was acquitted.
The six were arrested in April 2015 in different places around Honduras and accused of forming a criminal group along with Guatemalans and Colombians aiming to kill the Honduran leader.
The US government confirmed in April 2015 that in 2014 it alerted the Honduran government of a drug trafficking plan to assassinate Hernandez.
After the US warning, the Honduran intelligence service was able to break up the plot, also seizing weapons to have been used in carrying it out.
The drug traffickers were intending to kill Hernandez on Sept. 20-21, 2014, when he arrived by helicopter at the airport in the city of Gracias, in his home province of Lempira, authorities said.