President of Suriname's Son Admits Aiding Hezbollah
The son of the president of Suriname has admitted to aiding Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah on Friday.
Dino Bouterse, 41, who had initially denied the charges, was filmed last year telling undercover agents posing as Hezbollah operatives that he was willing to help the Iranian-backed terror group set up a base in the central American country, in preparation for attacks on the US and Holland.
Bouterse told a New York federal court that he had offered to provide a fake Surinamese passport to an undercover agent he thought was a Hezbollah operative.
He also admitted to offering to procure and supply the terrorists with heavy weapons - including surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
In exchange, he was to be paid $2 million - and considered using the Hezbollah cell as his own personal gang to bolster his criminal activity.
"We need a little fort that we can depend on. And we can call them at any time," he said, according to the indictment.
He pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide support to Hezbollah, one count of conspiring to import cocaine and one count of carrying a firearm in connection with that conspiracy, according to AFP.
Ironically, Bouterse is a former counter-terrorism chief in his home country - a position his father Desi Bouterse appointed him to after he was released from prison, having served time for drugs and weapons trafficking offenses.
He was arrested in Panama last year and extradited to the US under suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine, when prosecutors filed dramatic new terrorism charges.
Desi Bouterse has previously said he was shocked by his son's arrest but added that he was "responsible for his own actions".
Sentencing is set for January 6; after pleading guilty, he could spend up to 15 years in a US prison.