In South America, there's a big legal battle developing over U.S. attempts to extradite the?
In South America, there's a big legal battle developing over U.S. attempts to extradite the alleged master-mind of a vast drug-smuggling ring.
United States Department of Justice officials allege 60-year-old Auguste Record has been the man behind the smuggling of two and a half billion dollars (about one thousand million pounds sterling) worth of heroin into the United States over the last five years.
Since his arrest by Raraguayan authorities nearly one year ago, U.S. officials have been engaged in a legal fight to extradite Record from his Asuncion jail cell. Extradition proceedings began last March when a New York federal court indicted Record... in absentia... on charges of conspiring to import and sell illegal heroin in the United States.
Following the indictment, Paraguayan authorities arrested Record at the request of U.S. and INTERPOL officials. For the last eleven months Record has continued to protest his innocence.
SYNOPSIS: The port of Buenos Aires is the busiest in South America. Goods come in here for distribution to many South American countries besides Argentina. Some are loaded in boats and travel up the Parana River to Asuncion, Paraguay.... believed to be a centre of consumer goods-smuggling. In recent years, police have been on the look-out there for heroin destined for the United States.
These aircraft, filmed surreptitiously, are suspected by the police of being used in the smuggling trade. They leapfrog up South America and unload their cargo -- possibly heroin -- in the southern United States.
U.S. officials allege Auguste Record, a French-born Argentine, master-minded a vast, billion-dollar heroin-smuggling ring....shipping the drugs into the U.S. via Buenos Aires and Asuncion. In a Paraguayan jail for the last eleven months...at the request of U.S. and INTERPOL officials....Record hopes to beat U.s. attempts to extradite him on charges of drug smuggling. Born in France, the 60-year-old Record has a criminal record stretching back to the 1920s. Following World War II, French officials tried to extradite him for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. That attempt failed. Now the United States wants him for allegedly smuggling into that country one ton of heroin a year for the last five years.
In an interview with newsman at the Paraguayan jail, Record protested his innocence and said he was confident that U.S. attempts to extradite would fail. U.S. officials admit privately that their legal case for extradition is weak. So they're hoping to win it by stressing the moral side of their argument, by reminding Paraguay of its long friendship with the United States, and by bringing diplomatic pressure to bear. Ultimately, the Paraguayan courts will decide whether Auguste Record should stand trial in the United States or be released, a free man.