Conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez has been sworn in as president of Honduras after urging the United States to continue its support for counter-narcotics operations.

The 46-year-old lawyer said he would follow a policy of "zero tolerance" against violent crime and drug-trafficking.

"Let me be clear: time has run out for the criminals," he said.

Hernandez says the U.S. must recognize its responsibility for Honduras' homicide statistics, the world's highest for a country not at open war, because the vast majority of killings are linked to the south-to-north drug trade that uses Honduran territory as a transit point.

Hernandez replaces fellow conservative Porfirio Lobo, who took office in 2010 amid a crisis set off by the ousting of leftist Manuel Zelaya.