Latin America: Top Honduran Anti-Drug Official Assassinated

The top Honduran anti-drug official was ambushed and killed today by hit men on motorcycles as he drove alone through the capital, Tegucigalpa. Former army Gen. Julian Aristides Gonzales, 57, director of the Office for Combating Drug Trafficking, died after being hit by multiple shots from the gunmen, who escaped. Gonzalez had complained of receiving death threats from drug traffickers in the past. He was set to retire in two months and move to Canada. "We regret the death of this man who offered his life for the welfare of Hondurans," national police spokesman Orlin Cerrato said. "By the decency of his actions, he unleashed a real battle against the main vice that besets humanity." Along with the other Central American republics, Honduras is a key transit country for cocaine smuggled out of South America and destined for the insatiable markets of the north. Gonzalez’s office this year has seized five tons of cocaine out of an estimated 100 tons that transit’s the country each year. Trafficking through Honduras is believed to have intensified since the June coup that overthrew President Mel Zelaya. After the coup, the US suspended anti-drug cooperation and development aid to the rump government of interim President Roberto Micheletti. Honduran police complain that they have detected more aircraft smuggling drugs from South America since the coup, but have had less ability to stop them without US helicopters and radar. Citing worries about the increase in drug trafficking, Gonzalez held a press conference yesterday to urge the public to help the fight by reporting suspicious activity. He was dead 24 hours later.
Location: 
Tegucigalpa
Honduras
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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