Suriname president’s son jailed for Hezbollah ‘plot’

Dino Bouterse had previously also pleaded guilty to conspiring to import five kgs of cocaine into the United States

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A New York court sentenced the son of the president of Suriname to more than 16 years in prison Tuesday for attempting to support Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

Dino Bouterse, who worked in a Suriname counterterrorist unit, had previously also pleaded guilty to conspiring to import five kgs of cocaine into the United States and admitted a firearms offense.

The 42-year-old was arrested in Panama in August 2013 and extradited to the United States after a sting operation.

Manhattan Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Dino Bouterse was supposed to oppose terrorism.

“Instead, Bouterse betrayed his official position and tried to support and aid Hezbollah, including his agreement to assist Hezbollah in acquiring weapons, and conspiring to import cocaine to the US.

“Today he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for those odious crimes.”

In 2013, Bouterse used his position within the government of Suriname -- in exchange for millions of dollars -- to assist people he believed were members of Hezbollah and who said they intended to carry out attacks against American interests.

The “Hezbollah operatives” were actually undercover US agents.

He agreed to let them use Suriname as a base for the attacks and they discussed heavy weapons that he could provide to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement.

Bouterse’s father, Desi Bouterse, ruled Suriname after a coup and reclaimed power in 2010.

The president, 69, in 1999 was convicted by a Dutch court of involvement in cocaine smuggling. Earlier this year, a Dutch court rejected his third bid to have the conviction overturned.

The elder Bouterse, a former army officer, staged a coup in February 1980. He stepped down in 1987, but then led a second bloodless coup in 1991.

He then was elected president in 2010, while on trial as the main suspect in a military court in December 8, 1982 killings. After the latest election, the case was adjourned under an amnesty law adopted by his coalition in 2012.

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