Noriega finally returns to face possible house arrest

The former dictator of Panamá, Manuel Noriega, has returned home, after spending more than 20 years in prisons in the United States and France.

Noriega arrived Sunday evening after being extradited from France, where he served time for money laundering.

The former strongman now faces three separate sentences in Panama for the slayings of political opponents, including the 1985 beheading of Hugo Spadafora.

Noriega ruled the Central American nation with an iron hand during the 1980s, when he also was on the payroll of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. But he was overthrown by a U.S. invasion in 1989.

After being imprisoned in the United States on drug trafficking charges, Noriega was extradited to France.

Noriega, who is 77, qualifies for house arrest because of his age.

During the years Noriega was serving as a CIA informant, he also was cooperating with Colombia’s powerful Medellin drug cartel, laundering money and allowing Panama to serve as a transfer point for illegal drugs.

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