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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Surinamese Man Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To More Than 11 Years In Prison For Conspiring To Import Cocaine

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that EDMUND QUINCY MUNTSLAG, a citizen of Suriname, was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan federal court to 135 months in prison for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.  MUNTSLAG was convicted on March 22, 2016, after a four-day jury trial before former U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin.  Sentence was imposed yesterday by U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “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.  Thanks to the outstanding work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Muntslag will join co-defendant Dino Bouterse 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 Dino Bouterse, the son of the President of Suriname who declared himself the head of that country’s Counterterrorism Unit, conspired to sell hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to a purported Mexican cartel for importation to the U.S. 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. 

Approximately three weeks later, MUNTSLAG received $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, New York. 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 upon the successful completion of the test load. 

The cocaine was seized by Trinidadian law enforcement officers, in coordination with agents of the DEA, in Port-of-Spain on July 27, 2013.  MUNTSLAG was arrested in Port-of-Spain on August 29, 2013, and Bouterse was arrested in Panama City, Panama, on August 29, 2013.

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MUNTSLAG was convicted of conspiring to import five kilograms and more of cocaine into the United States.  In addition to his prison term, MUNTSLAG, 33, of Suriname, was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.

On August 29, 2014, Bouterse, 43, also of Suriname, 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.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the Special Operations Division of the DEA.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the DEA’s Miami Field Division, Panama City Country Office, Port-of-Spain Country Office, and Bogota Country Office; the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard and Andrew DeFilippis are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
16-327
Updated December 7, 2016