Sunday, September 1, 2013


Dino Bouterse

Dino Bouterse, the head of Suriname's Counter-Terrorist Unit, and the son of its president, appeared in United States District Court* in New York City this week, on Federal narcotics smuggling and weapons charges. He was reportedly deported from the Republic of Panama, where he had arrived on what was described there as personal business. The defendant's father, President Dési Bouterse, made no relevant comments about his son's criminal charges. US authorities have asserted that Dino is a "significant drug trafficker." the narcotics were allegedly shipped, via aircraft, to an unspecified point in the Caribbean, and thereafter into the Continental United States.

The defendant, who was previously convicted and imprisoned, in Suriname, on narcotics, weapons, and stolen car charges, has been accused of multiple criminal offenses in his country, some of which have been dismissed. Another defendant, Edmund Quincy Muntslag, also known as "Blue," was arrested in Trinidad. Dino allegedly brandished a rocket launcher (light anti-tank weapon) during the commission of the crime, which is the reason for the weapons count.

President Dési Bouterse was reportedly found guilty, in absentia, of narcotics charges in the Netherlands, in 1999, but he enjoys immunity in his country. Suriname has long been a transit country for cocaine destined for North America and Europe, should be be assigned elevated levels of Country Risk.

Reports state that a hearing in the case is scheduled for 9 September. The defendant has been remanded into custody.

The Coat of Arms of Suriname
Questions remain concerning Bouterse's business reasons for being in Panama. It is customary there for extradition or deportation to be a drawn-out proceeding, yet he was summarily expelled upon arrival, and sent to the United States, due to the sealed indictment against him. Did Panama want to avoid negative publicity about the underlying reason for visit ? Whether his criminal case will expose a relationship between the Bouterse family and Panama's banks is an issue that court watchers will be looking at closely.
* United States vs. Bouterse, Case No.: 13-cr-00635-SAS (SDNY). The case has been routinely assigned to Judge Shira  Scheindlin, who heard the Viktor Bout case.

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