NEW YORK, New York CMC – A Federal judge has extended the detention of Dino Bouterse, the son of Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse, who was arrested in Panama last month on charges of drug trafficking and possession of illegal weapons.
Manhattan federal Judge, Shira Scheindlin, extended the pre-detention of the 41-year-old Bouterse to November, when his trial is scheduled to begin.
Dino Bouterse was arrested in Panama on August 29, and handed over to US authorities, who charged him with drug trafficking and illegal weapons possession.
US authorities had characterized Bouterse as a dangerous seasoned narcotics trafficker, who as recently as last July shipped 10 kilograms of cocaine from Suriname through the Caribbean into the US.
His fellow suspect Edmund Muntslag, 29, was arrested in Trinidad and Tobago, where he remains in custody.
If convicted, Bouterse faces the possibility of life imprisonment and his mother, Ingrid Fiqueira, the first wife of President Bouterse, is reported to have left Suriname for the United States.
President Bouterse told a news conference that while he is concerned about the situation, his son is a grown individual.
“I don’t know everything my 41 year-old son, who himself is father to 14 children, is up to. He is not 12 years old anymore.”
Since the arrest, opposition legislators in Suriname have been calling for President Bouterse to step down. Bouterse has dismissed the calls saying he would seek re-election in 2015.
He has said the arrest was part of a plan by Washington to disrupt the activities of the Union of South American States (UNASUR) which was holding a summit in Suriname at the time.
“They chose a perfect moment; I couldn’t have done it better. Fortunately it didn’t reach its intended goal,” Bouterse said.