Noriega, onetime ally of US, spent his final decades in jail

And though his sentence in the USA was reduced to 15 years, his prison time ultimately was not - for he was also convicted of crimes in France and Panama, where he died at 83, still in custody for his crimes. Since earning the position, Noriega got the chance to travel to the United States in 1967, and trained in infantry operations, intelligence, jungle operations, and counterintelligence at the School of the Americas.

Noriega returned home as a wheelchair-bound broken man suffering from a series of ailments.

According to Anderson, Noriega said: "I wouldn't do that again". Torrijos died in a plane crash in 1981. He and surrendered to USA troops in January 1990.

-April 27, 2010: Extradited by France, where he is convicted of laundering money in France during 1980s and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno was born in Panama City, most likely on February 11, 1934, although the year of his birth was a matter of controversy. Noriega was Torrijos' right-hand man, but both Noriega and the United States government have been accused of being behind Torrijos' death in an airplane crash.

Noriega spent the remainder of his life in custody between the United States, France and Panama for a host of crimes ranging from murder to racketeering and drug-running. His mentor Gen Omar Torrijos led a coup in 1968 and took over the reigns of the country.

Per an earlier indictment in US courts, Noriega was taken to Florida to stand trial.

-Aug. 12, 1983: Noriega assumes command of National Guard, which he will convert to Panama's Defense Forces.

Following years of ill-health that included respiratory problems, prostate cancer and depression, Noriega's family pleaded with authorities to him to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

In 2015 Noriega issued a blanket apology "to anybody who felt offended, affected, prejudiced or humiliated by my actions". Evidence of the Panamanian dictator's extrajudicial killings and dealings with drug cartels mounted until it was almost impossible to ignore - no matter how helpful he had proved to the Central Intelligence Agency in the past.

But for the most part Noriega stayed mum about elite military and civilian associates who thrived on the corruption that he helped instill - and which still plagues the Central American nation of some 3.9 million people, a favored transshipment point for drugs and a haven for money laundering.

Manuel Noriega's wife, Felicidad Sieiro de Noriega, and the couple's three daughters, Thays Noriega, Sandra Noriega, and Lorena Noriega are survived by him.

"He kept his mouth shut and died for the sins of others", Koster said in a 2014 interview.

  • Leroy Wright