Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who spied for the CIA before his drug trafficking and brutal regime sparked a U.S. invasion in 1989, dies aged 83. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Panama's former dictator, the CIA spy and convicted cocaine trafficker Manuel Noriega has died. The country's president confirming the news on Twitter late on Monday (May 29). Though there's no official word on the cause of death, the 83-year-old had undergone brain surgery in March to remove a benign tumour. At the time, his lawyer said Noriega was in a coma after complications saw a second operation carried out with an open skull. Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spying for the CIA before his drug trafficking and brutal regime sparked a massive US invasion in 1989. Nearly 28-thousand troops were sent in to seize Panama City and capture the central American leader in a house to house hunt. Noriega orchestrated the dissapearance of scores of his opponents. When some of those bodies were exhumed later, they were found bound and showing signs of torture. He was later charged with murder, serving his sentence in the country he once ruled. He was released from prison in January for three months to undertake the brain surgery.