MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former dictator Manuel Noriega, who spent 2 decades in a Miami federal prison after he was snatched from Panama by US military forces, was hospitalized Sunday after his blood pressure spiked.

Initial reports indicate that Noriega, who is now serving a prison sentence in Panama, was suffering from extreme hypertension, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.  Doctors said he’s aware of his surrounding and conscious.

Noriega, at one time a major US ally, was declared a criminal by the US in 1989, and once captured by US military forces, was tried and convicted of drug trafficking. He was treated as a prisoner of war at a federal prison in South Miami-Dade before his sentence ended, and he was extradited to France. There, he served a sentence for money laundering.

A French court has approved Noriega’s extradition which allowed him to return home for the first time since he was forced out.

Panama sought Noriega’s extradition so that he could serve prison sentences handed down after he was convicted in absentia for embezzlement, corruption and murder.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.


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