BOGOTA — The regime that ousted Manuel Zelaya in Honduras claimed Tuesday that the deposed president allowed tons of cocaine to be flown into the Central American country on its way to the United States.
"Every night, three or four Venezuelan-registered planes land without the permission of appropriate authorities and bring thousands of pounds … and packages of money that are the fruit of drug trafficking," its foreign minister, Enrique Ortez, told CNN en Espanol.
"We have proof of all of this. Neighboring governments have it. The DEA has it," he added.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne in Washington said he could neither confirm nor deny a DEA investigation.
Zelaya could not immediately be reached to respond.
Honduras and other Central American nations have become major transshipment points in recent years for Colombian cocaine.
In its most recent report on the illicit narcotics trade, the U.S. State Department said in February of Honduras that "official corruption continues to be an impediment to effective law enforcement and there are press reports of drug trafficking and associated criminal activity among current and former government and military officials."
Meanwhile, Zelaya won overwhelming international support Tuesday as he planned a high-profile return to his chaotic country. The politicians who sent soldiers to fly him into exile in his pajamas said he will be arrested for treason if he returns.
Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi said Zelaya would be seized "as soon as he sets foot on Honduran soil" and face 20 years in prison on charges that also include abuse of authority.