Son of drug-smuggling Suriname president busted with coke, bazooka: prosecutors
By RICH CALDER and JOSH SAUL
August 31, 2013
The son of a notorious South American president smuggled a fat stash of cocaine into the United States — and was busted with a rocket launcher and several guns, Manhattan prosecutors said yesterday.
Dino Bouterse, 40, whose father is the drug-trafficking president of Suriname, pleaded not guilty to the charges at his federal court arraignment.
Bouterse’s arsenal included “a light anti-tank weapon, which is a launcher containing a rocket, and pistols,” according to an indictment unsealed yesterday.
“Dino Bouterse conspired to send [22 pounds of] cocaine to the United States in a suitcase and brandished a destructive weapon during the act,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.“
Bouterse is a significant drug trafficker who allegedly possessed dangerous weapons. Bouterse has a history of drug and weapons trafficking, having been convicted of similar charges in his home country of Suriname in 2005.
”Bouterse was collared at a Panama airport for sending the suitcase of coke from Suriname to the Caribbean on a commercial flight — with the plan that the drugs would end up in the United States.
His father, President Dési Bouterse, was convicted in absentia by a Netherlands court in 1999 of smuggling over 1,000 pounds of cocaine into the country — but never served any prison time. The elder Bouterse is a former military dictator accused of human-rights violations, including the killings of 15 political opponents in December 1982. He ruled the tiny country from 1980 to 1987 and regained power in 2010.
After his son’s arrest, Bouterse postponed his opening statement at the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) summit in Suriname’s capital by three hours.
“I have heard about the news, but, at this moment, I am concentrating on the UNASUR meeting,” he told reporters.Prosecutors in Suriname charged Dino Bouterse with stealing 50 guns from the government intelligence service in 2002 but later dropped the charges due to lack of evidence.
Police arrested the younger Bouterse again in September 2004 after seizing a large number of assault weapons, ammunition and one kilogram of cocaine from a local auto shop.He was sentenced to eight years in prison in August 2005 after a judge found him guilty of leading a ring that trafficked in cocaine, illegal arms and stolen luxury cars.
Dino Bouterse was charged yesterday with importing cocaine into the United States and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug-trafficking crime. He could face life behind bars.He will next appear in court on Sept. 9.
How to hell did he even get permission to enter this country??? What is his purpose here? And why was he charged with carrying a firearm??? Firearm? A rocket launcher is a firearm???