By Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has hard evidence that the president of Suriname, Desi Bouterse, had frequent contact with Roger Khan, a Guyanese national and one of the largest drug traffickers in the region, Dutch news outlet NRC.nl reported on Saturday.
According to NRC, Khan’s satellite phone records, which were obtained from an undisclosed source, show Bouterse’s cell phone number listed several times. The calls reportedly took place towards the end of 2005 until mid-June of 2006, when Khan was arrested in Paramaribo in a sting operation in which police netted 213 kilos of cocaine. He was also wanted in Guyana for questioning in the theft of 33 AK-47 rifles of the Guyana Defence Force earlier in 2006.
Khan was deported by Suriname authorities on June 29, 2006; however, he never reached Guyana as he was met by American law enforcement officials when transiting through Trinidad and escorted to the US.
After standing trial in the US, Khan was found guilty of trafficking large amounts of cocaine and was sentenced in 2009 to serve a 40-year-prison sentence.
According to US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, there were “social and operational links” between Bouterse and Khan but no evidence was cited.
According to intelligence sources, the links between Desi Bouterse and Khan were part of a drug network, to which Bouterse’s son Dino also belonged.
On August 29, Panamanian authorities arrested Dino Bouterse and turned him over to US authorities to face charges that he conspired to import cocaine into the United States.
DEA special-agent-in-charge Derek Maltz said at the time: “[Dino] Bouterse is a significant drug trafficker who allegedly possessed dangerous weapons. Bouterse has a history of drug and weapons trafficking, having been convicted of similar charges in his home country of Suriname in 2005. Thanks to our vast network of law enforcement and informants around the world, DEA and our partners disrupted this drug trafficking conspiracy and he … will now face justice here in the United States.”