PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) — A foster son of President Desi Bouterse has been arrested for his alleged ties to a gang involved in a botched armed robbery that resulted in two people being killed and five wounded, Suriname police said.
One of the cars used by the robbers was registered to Romano Meriba, 31, who turned himself over to authorities Friday, police said. He had denied in a radio interview earlier in the week that he had any involvement in the robbery.
The robbers, armed with assault rifles and hand grenades, engaged in a shootout with police that left two dead and five wounded, including three with serious injuries. Two policemen suffered minor injuries, according to reports.
Meriba was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2005 after being convicted for killing a merchant, but he was released in December 2011.
Dino Bouterse, the president's 43-year-old, is serving a 16-year prison sentence in the United States on drug trafficking charges and charges related to helping the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Desi Bouterse has been Suriname's elected president since 2010, returning to power after ruling the South American country as a dictator in the 1980s. The Netherlands convicted him in absentia on drug trafficking charges in 1999, but he avoided prison because Suriname doesn't have an extradition treaty with its former colonial ruler.
This story has been corrected to show that Roman Meriba was arrested for alleged ties to the gang rather than as an alleged participant in the robbery attempt.