Noriega Transferred to Federal Prison Near Miami

From Associated Press

Deposed Panamanian leader Manuel A. Noriega was transferred Sunday night from the federal courthouse to a federal prison south of Miami, the warden said.

Noriega, who faces federal drug charges, has been held in an underground facility at the courthouse in downtown Miami since being brought to the United States on Jan. 4 after the U.S. invasion of his country.

Warden Stephen Pontesso of the medium-security Metropolitan Correctional Center 25 miles from Miami refused to give details of Noriega's quarters and merely described it as "a cell."

However, a source close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity said Noriega was not in the general prison population.

Round-the-clock construction at the correctional center had fueled rumors that Noriega would be transferred there.

Noriega, who was indicted in February, 1988, on 12 drug-trafficking counts, is scheduled to go on trial March 5.

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