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Surinamese jailed in NY for conspiring to import cocaine

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Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, says that Edmund Quincy Muntslag, a citizen of Suriname, has been sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 135 months in prison for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.

Bharara said on Wednesday that Muntslag, 33, was convicted on Mar. 22, 2016, after a four-day jury trial before former U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. Sentence was imposed by US District Judge Alison J. Nathan.

“Edmund Muntslag conspired to create a drug route for hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from his home country of Suriname to the streets of New York City,” Bharara said. “Thanks to the outstanding work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Muntslag will join co-defendant Dino Bouterse, the son of the President of Suriname, in serving a long sentence in a federal prison.”

According to the allegations contained in the indictment, other documents publicly filed in Manhattan federal court, and the evidence introduced at trial, in 2013, Munstlag, along with co-defendant Bouterse, declared himself the head of that country’s Counterterrorism Unit.

Muntslag conspired to sell hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to a purported Mexican cartel for importation to the US, the indictment says.

In furtherance of this conspiracy, Bouterse supplied to individuals that he and Muntslag believed to be representatives of the cartel, but who in fact were confidential sources working at the direction and under the supervision of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), with genuine Surinamese passports bearing false identification information, according to the indictment.

About three weeks later, the indictment says that Muntslag received US$60,000 in cash as a payment to allow a 10-kilogram “test load” of cocaine to pass through the airport in Paramaribo, Suriname, where it was to be loaded onto a commercial airline flight concealed inside luggage.

Thereafter, Muntslag worked with “corrupt airport employees” in Suriname to send the 10-kilogram test load to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from where Muntslag and Bouterse believed it would be further transported and sold by the purported cartel in New York, the indictment says.

It says that Muntslag and Bouterse expected to receive proceeds from the sale of the cocaine in New York, and also expected to send additional, 100-kilogram cocaine shipments to the purported cartel using a similar method on the successful completion of the test load.

The indictment states that the cocaine was seized by Trinidadian law enforcement officers, in coordination with agents of the DEA, in Port-of-Spain on Jul. 27, 2013.

Muntslag was arrested in Port-of-Spain on Aug. 29, 2013, and Bouterse was arrested in Panama City, Panama, on Aug. 29, 2013.

Bharara said that Muntslag was convicted of conspiring to import five kilograms and more of cocaine into the United States.

In addition to his prison term, Bharara said Muntslag was ordered to pay a US$100 special assessment.

On Aug. 29, 2014, Bouterse, 43, pled guilty to attempting to provide material support to Hezbollah, a Foreign Terrorist Organization; using and carrying a firearm or during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime; and conspiring to import five kilograms and more of cocaine into the United States.

On March 10, 2015, Bouterse was sentenced principally to a term of 195 months in prison, Bharara said.

Updated 10:13 am, December 15, 2016
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