Suriname leader's son extradited to US on arms charges

The son of Suriname President Desi Bouterse has been extradited from Panama to the United States on drug trafficking and weapons charges, federal prosecutors said.

Dino Bouterse's extradition took place as his father hosted a UNASUR summit of leftist South American leaders.

Bouterse was arrested on Thursday and turned over to US authorities to face charges that he plotted to import 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of cocaine into the United States using a suitcase on an airliner and held an antitank weapon during the offense.

The indictment alleges that Bouterse worked with a co-conspirator identified as Edmund Quincy Muntslag to smuggle narcotics into the United States starting in or around December 2011.

Muntslag was arrested Thursday in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago and appeared in a New York court on Friday.

"As alleged, Dino Bouterse conspired to send cocaine to the United States in a suitcase, and brandished a destructive weapon during the act," US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Drug Enforcement Administration Special-Agent-in-Charge Derek Maltz called Bouterse a "significant drug trafficker."

Bouterse, 40, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

He was previously jailed in 2005 after a judge convicted him of leading a gang that trafficked cocaine and weapons.

When he was released after serving just three years of an eight-year sentence, his father gave him a job as director of the country's anti-terrorism unit.

Desi Bouterse told AFP his office was informed of his son's arrest.

Bouterse was elected president by parliament in 2010 but led a ruling military junta from 1980-1987, during the former Dutch colony's civil war.

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