NEW YORK (AP) — The son of former Honduran President Porfirio Lobo was sentenced in New York on Tuesday to 24 years in prison after revealing his role in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
Fabio Lobo, 46, pleaded guilty in May 2016, admitting he worked with drug traffickers and Honduran police to ship cocaine into the United States. U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield also fined him $50,000 and ordered him to forfeit $267,000.
Lobo confessed to a 2009 to 2014 conspiracy, nearly matching the years from 2010 to 2014 when his father was president.
The charge carried a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life.
Lobo was brought to the U.S. in May 2015 to face charges he conspired to smuggle over 5 kilograms of cocaine into the country.
Prior to the announcement of the sentence, Lobo cried and apologized.
In a release, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said Lobo had sought to assist traffickers and enrich himself.
"Lobo used his father's position and his own connections to bring drug traffickers together with corrupt police and government officials," Kim said.
Prosecutors said Lobo had connected large-scale Honduran drug traffickers with high-level officials such as sitting Honduran congressmen as well as customs, military and law enforcement personnel.
They said he began engaging with drug traffickers while his father was running for president in 2009, enabling his father to receive bribes from members of a drug organization known as the Cachiros. Prosecutors said the organization used connections with politicians, military personnel and law enforcement to transport cocaine.
According to the release, the U.S. government discovered that the drug organization paid over $500,000 to Lobo's father to secure political protection from law enforcement investigations, to prevent extradition to the U.S. and to obtain contracts from Honduran government agencies for money laundering front companies used by the drug organization.