Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Derek Maltz, Special-Agent-in-Charge of the Special Operations Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today that on August 29, 2013, Panamanian authorities arrested DINO BOUTERSE in the Republic of Panama and turned him over to U.S. authorities to face charges that he conspired to import cocaine into the United States. BOUTERSE will be presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV later today.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Dino Bouterse conspired to send cocaine to the United States in a suitcase, and brandished a destructive weapon during the act. With his arrest, this Office continues to make sure that those who attempt to transport drugs into our country are apprehended and brought to justice, no matter where they live.”
DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge Derek Maltz 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. Thanks to our vast network of law enforcement and informants around the world, DEA and our partners disrupted this drug trafficking conspiracy and he and Muntslag will now face justice here in the United States.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment, BOUTERSE conspired to import cocaine into the United States. As part of this conspiracy, BOUTERSE caused a suitcase containing 10 kilograms of cocaine to be transported out of Suriname aboard a commercial flight, and in the course of engaging in the drug transaction possessed an antitank weapon.
EDMUND QUINCY MUNTSLAG, who is also charged in the Indictment, was separately arrested yesterday in Trinidad and Tobago.
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The indictment charges BOUTERSE, 40, of Paramaribo, Suriname, in two counts. Count One charges BOUTERSE with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. Count Two charges BOUTERSE with carrying a firearm or destructive device during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime. Counts One and Two each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
MUNTLSAG, 29, of Suriname, is charged with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s Special Operations Division. Mr. Bharara also thanked the DEA’s Panama City Country Office, the DEA’s Port of Spain Country Office, the Government of the Republic of Panama, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward Y. Kim, Michael D. Lockard, and Adam Fee are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.