Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega Dies at 83

Noriega was convicted of drug smuggling and racketeering, becoming the first foreign leader to be convicted of crimes in a U.S. court

Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian dictator whose brutal six-year reign was ended by a U.S. invasion, has died at 83, a hospital in Panama confirmed to NBC News.

Noriega early on caught the attention of the CIA and became a paid informant for the U.S. agency. He rose to power through the military and acted as de facto leader of Panama from 1983 to 1989.

However, Noriega was a brutal, repressive leader and established himself as a drug lord, with some of the country's biggest banks used to launder drug money. President George H.W. Bush ordered troops to Panama in 1989 and by Jan. 31, 1990, Noriega was in custody.

Noriega was convicted of drug smuggling and racketeering, becoming the first foreign leader to be convicted of crimes in a U.S. court. He was released from prison in 2007 after serving 17 years of his 40-year sentence.

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