U.S. Extradites Manuel Noriega To France

WASHINGTON - Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian dictator ousted in a 1989 U.S. invasion, was put on a plane to Paris Monday to face charges of money laundering. Secretary of State Clinton signed papers allowing the extradition of Noriega, 76, who faces charges there related to Colombian drug cartels that could bring him an additional 10 years in jail. Noriega was convicted of drug charges in Florida federal court in 1992. He finished his sentence in 2007 but remained jailed outside Miami while France vied for custody of him against Panama, which wants him for murder. Noriega, a U.S.-trained soldier, led Panama's military and went on the CIA payroll in the 1970s as a foe of leftist governments in Central America. He also was on the payroll of the drug traffickers. In 1989, Noriega thugs threw out the results of national elections. The U.S. invaded in December, and 24 U.S. troops were killed as Noriega's "Dignity Battalions" put up a brief resistance.