Accused drug smuggler to challenge US extradition

Edmund Quincy Muntslag, 29, of Suriname, was arrested in Trinidad last Thursday and is being held at the Maximum Security Prison, Arouca, awaiting his extradition proceedings in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar.

He is expected to be brought to court on September 26, where he will make an application for bail. Newsday understands Muntslag has retained attorney Keith Scotland to represent him.

The requesting state (the United States) will be represented in court by attorneys Jagdeo Singh and Netram Kowlessar, head of the Central Authority at the Office of the Attorney General.

Muntslag has been indicted in a federal court in the Southern District of New York, along with Dino Bouterse, son of Suriname’s president Desi Bouterse, on drug trafficking charges.

Bouterse was arrested in Panama.

According to the US indictment, Muntslag travelled to Suriname on July 25 to arrange the transport of ten kilogrammes of cocaine to the United States.

On July 27, the indictment alleges, Bouterse “caused a suitcase containing ten kilogrammes of cocaine to be transported from Suriname to the Caribbean on board a commercial flight.”

Muntslag was arrested in Trinidad and charged with drug trafficking, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan confirmed Muntslag’s arrest.

Newsday was told Muntslag’s arrest was part of an international sting operation led by the US Government in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.

According to sources, the US has been trailing Muntslag for some time. A provisional warrant of arrest has been issued by Ayers-Caesar. Muntslag was arrested by officials attached to the Organised Crime Narcotics and Firearm Bureau. He was said to have entered Trinidad on August 29 in transit to another country.

The investigation by the US authorities has been the subject of international press reports because of his close links with Bouterse’s son.

Security has also been beefed up at the Maximum Security Prison because of heightened concerns of drug cartels’ ability to infiltrate local prisons.

Security services are on high alert for any attempted prison break as police officers have allegedly been approached by various emissaries to assist in facilitating the escape. Muntslag appeared in the local courts on August 30. He was unrepresented and requested that he be provided with a translator. The Central Authority Unit in the Ministry of the Attorney General has offered to assist.

Sources said Muntslag’s mother has flown in to visit him but prisons officials are keeping a close watch as he is being treated as a maximum security high risk prisoner.

Bouterse’s father, Desi, is a former military dictator accused of human rights violations, including the killings of 15 political opponents in December 1982. He ruled the tiny South American country from 1980 to 1987, and reclaimed power in 2010.


"Accused drug smuggler to challenge US extradition"

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