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Suriname president's son arrested on U.S. drug charges

By CNN Staff
updated 10:01 PM EDT, Sat August 31, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dino Bouterse faces federal drug and weapons charges in New York
  • Panamanian authorities arrest him, hand him over to U.S. officials
  • Boutserse is the son of Suriname's president

(CNN) -- The son of Suriname's president is facing drug charges in New York federal court.

Panamanian authorities detained Dino Bouterse at Tocumen International Airport outside Panama City and handed him over to U.S. authorities, the Central American nation's foreign ministry said Friday.

A federal grand jury indictment alleges that Bouterse, 40, "caused a suitcase containing 10 kilograms of cocaine to be transported from Suriname into the Caribbean" in July.

Bouterse brandished an anti-tank weapon during the alleged trafficking operation, prosecutors said in a statement Friday.

He faces weapons and drug trafficking conspiracy charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, prosecutors said.

In a statement Friday, Suriname's foreign ministry acknowledged Bouterse's detention but said the reasons for it were unclear.

He is the son of Desi Bouterse, a former military strongman who was elected president of the South American nation in 2010.

CNN did not get an immediate response Saturday to messages left for an attorney believed to represent Bouterse.

CNN's Chris Kokenes contributed to this report.

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