Honduras' Operation Dragon IV – a crime-fighting initiative to combat drug trafficking, murder, sex crimes and corruption – is in full force, the Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed Wednesday.
Over 100 arrest warrants were issued Wednesday, a fifth for former state officials under investigation for crimes of corruption and drug trafficking at a national level.
"Some arrests have been made; some are important officials while others are ex-officials," said Jorge Galindo, spokesman for the Technical Agency for Criminal Investigation (ATIC).
"We are expecting that those in charge of the operation will provide all the details collected in order to inform the public of the progress of the cases."
Among those arrested is Doris Obdulia Sevilla for allegedly falsifying 144 public documents. Her son and two nephews were also arrested on suspicion of fraud amounting to losses of about US$434,530 in state funds.
Officers from the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Organized Crime (Fescco), together with the National Anti-Extortion Force (FNA), are organizing raids across 18 districts targeting people suspected of corruption, murder, selling drugs, tax crimes, domestic violence, sexual crimes, contraband and theft.
"Soon we will be able to report arrests of officials and ex-officers of some state institutions for crimes of fraud, misappropriation of public funds and related crimes," said Carlos Morazan, of the Public Ministry.
At least 50 minors were also removed from high-risk situations on Wednesday, .
Just one day into the operation, a trafficking network was dismantled during a raid on a bar just hours from the coast, with 13 women rescued. The Public Ministry said about 20 women were "sexually exploited" and forced to work at the bar, EFE reports.
As a result of the raid, three people were arrested for crimes of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, offenses which carry a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison.
In Ceiba, two men were placed in preventive detention charged with a 'Special Case of Rape and Act of Aggravated Assault' against a teenaged girl and a two-year-old child.
Among the state agencies involved in Operation Dragon IV are the Technical Agency for Criminal Investigation (ATIC), the Anti-Drug Trafficking Directorate (DLCN) and the National Inter-institutional Security Force (Fusina).