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Honduran national police chief accused of money laundering

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduran authorities on Tuesday arrested the head of the national police, accusing him and his wife of money laundering.

Authorities arrested Leonel Luciano Sauceda and his wife, Patricia Sbeltlana Estrada on money laundering charges. They said in a statement that the couple was arrested at a home in Tegucigalpa, the capital, and that authorities seized eight structures, two cars and financial documents.

Sauceda began his career with the national police in 1992 and was appointed head of police just two weeks ago.

According to officials, there was no accounting for 13 bank accounts and 13.8 million lempiras, or roughly $560,000, that Sauceda had in his name between 2006 and 2017. They say his wife also had 10 bank accounts with roughly 2.7 million lempiras, or $110,000, for which the origin couldn’t be traced. Authorities say they don’t know where the couple got the cash they used for some of the items that were seized.

Corruption in Honduras is widespread. Several government officials have faced accusations of being involved in drug trafficking in the U.S. Even President Juan Orlando Hernández has been investigated in the U.S. in connection with alleged drug trafficking and money laundering; he denies any wrongdoing.

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