The son of the president of Suriname has admitted charges in a New York court that he offered to help US agents posing as the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah a base in his country for operations against the US in an elaborate sting operation.
Dino Bouterse told a federal court on Friday that he provided a false Surinamese passport to a person he believed was a Hezbollah operative. He also pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and firearms charges.
The plea came a year after Bouterse was arrested in Panama on charges he conspired to smuggle cocaine into the US.
He had already been extradited to the US and jailed when authorities accused him of agreeing to accept millions of dollars to allow Hezbollah fighters to use Suriname as a base for attacking US targets.
An indictment said Bouterse was recorded in Greece and Panama meeting people he thought were Hezbollah members and Mexican drug traffickers. His contacts were in fact undercover agents with the US drug enforcement administration.
The indictment said Bouterse agreed to be paid $2m to help Hezbollah fighters settle in Suriname with fake identities and arm them with weapons including surface-to-air missiles for attacks on the US and the Netherlands.
Bouterse also told the US agents that he was interested in using Hezbollah “tough guys” for operations inside Suriname.
Bouterse’s father, Desi Bouterse, was elected president by the country’s parliament in 2010.
Desi Bouterse has previously said he was shocked by his son’s arrest but added he was “responsible for his own actions”.
Dino faces a prison term of 15 years to life at sentencing on January 6.