Roatan’s Mayor Arrested in Island’s Biggest Drug Bust Ever
ATIC (Technical Criminal Investigation Agency) police agents performed the arrest after received information about major drug shipment arriving on the island via sea and being transferred to another location where they would be picked up to continue their journey north. ATIC road block in Brick Bay stopped a red water truck suspected to carry the drugs and a red Toyota Land Cruiser that fallowed it and attempted to make a U-turn.
The water truck was driven by Efraín Santos, Francisco Henríquez and Jorge Rosales and the Toyota was driven by Mayor Hynds. Instead of 2,000 gallons of water the truck’s cistern contained 2,000 kilos of cocaine and the four suspects were arrested.
Mayor Hynds was allowed to remain in his vehicle, but was eventually handcuffed and transferred to the Honduran Naval Station in French Harbour. The water truck with license plates AAM 7220 and Liberal Party 2021 election sticker on its dashboard was moved to the Honduran Naval station in French Harbor. The intercepted cocaine represents roughly two days of cocaine consumption in the US, were unloaded and inventoried.
The next day the four suspects and some of the drugs were flown by military plane to Tegucigalpa for further investigation. Mayor Hynds owns several large waterfront island businesses and properties including Island Shipping, Roatan Shipyard and is partner in the Mahogany Bay cruise ship port. ATIC agents began searches of some of these businesses.
The bust is timed as Hurricane Ida moved north of Roatan towards the Gulf of Mexico just hours prior to the bust. Drug smugglers often use rough weather and moonless nights to facilitate their operations.
Honduras has been on a cocaine trafficking route to US since circa 1974 when CIA’s pilot Barry Seal established a series of landing strips and beacons from Colombia through Panama and onto Louisiana and later Mena, Arkansas. Seal also begun the history of cocaine busts on Roatan when his twin-engine Merlin plane was apprehended at the island’s airport with 40 kg of cocaine in 1979.