At least 22 agents of the TIGRES, a SWAT-style elite police unit were allegedly suspended after it was discovered that a team of TIGRES divided $1.3 million dollars amongst themselves. The money was found during a raid on property owned by the Valle Valle family in Copan. The United States is requesting the extradition of the Valle family who are facing drug trafficking charges in US courts.
Former US Ambassador Lisa Kubiske in Lepaterique, Francisco Morazan, Honduras where TIGRES unit completed training provided by Columbian and US forces. Source and photo credit: La Tribuna
The TIGRES are vetted and trained by the United States. This is just another example of how 'vetting' units - a strategy promoted by the US - is a deeply flawed concept that will never work. Another example of the failure of 'vetting' is the Honduran vetted unit that accompanied the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) during a drug interdiction operation in La Moskitia where four innocent indigenous Miskitu people were killed and three badly injured.
The Honduran press reports that two TIGRES captains permitted the team to divide the money up and describe the way they avoided disclosing the amount of money that was found during the raid. La Prensa is also reporting how some spent the money including buying sports cars, houses, and prostitution.
Although this is another case describing corruption in Honduran police units, its suspicious (in my opinion) that the press is reporting it in such detail. The Honduran government and those in favour of further militarizing Honduran society will likely try anything possible to make police units look terrible in the next few months. Having said that, I'm also not promoting the Honduran police and do agree that the level of corruption and impunity in which they operate is a huge problem.