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US Sentences South American Counterterrorism Official for Backing Hezbollah

© AP Photo / Mohammed ZaatariHezbollah fighters
Hezbollah fighters - Sputnik International
The US Department of Justice stated that a NYC Federal Court sentenced Suriname Counterterrorism official Dino Bouterse to more than 16 years in prison who had betrayed his official position and tried to support and aid Hezbollah.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A New York City Federal Court sentenced a Suriname Counterterrorism official Dino Bouterse to more than 16 years in prison for attempting to provide money, passports and arms to the Hezbollah terrorist organization, as well as for trafficking narcotics, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.

“Dino Bouterse, a citizen of Suriname who assisted in the formation of that country’s Counter-Terrorism Unit, was sentenced today in federal court in New York City to 195 months in prison for attempting to provide material support and resources to Hezbollah… along with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses,” the statement, released on Tuesday, said.

Bouterse, 42, was arrested in Panama and pleaded guilty in August 2014.

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Bouterse received a multimillion-dollar payment for allowing Hezbollah operatives to use Suriname as a permanent base for training and attacks on US targets, according to the DOJ. He also conspired to import cocaine into the United States, supplied Hezbollah terrorists with passports for clandestine travel and intended to provide the operatives with arms.

“Dino Bouterse was supposed to oppose terrorism,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said in the statement. “Instead, Bouterse betrayed his official position and tried to support and aid Hezbollah, including his agreement to assist Hezbollah in acquiring weapons, and conspiring to import cocaine to the US.”

The US Department of State designated the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997. In October 2001, Hezbollah was classified as Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

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