Terrorism charges filed against arms dealer
May 06, 2008
By Jim Popkin, NBC News Senior Investigative Producer
The Justice Department today announced it is charging accused international arms dealer Viktor Bout with conspiracy to kill Americans and terrorism-related charges.
Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed an indictment against Bout for allegedly conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Colombian insurgent group the FARC, which the U.S. has designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The prosecutors allege that the weapons were to “be used to kill Americans in Colombia.”
Thai authorities arrested Bout last month, based on a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in New York charging conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. According to the indictment unsealed today, Bout
The indictment adds that between November 2007 and March 2008, Bout
Prosecutors allege that Bout
As described in the indictment, during a covertly recorded meeting in Thailand on March 6, 2008, Bout stated to an undercover operative that he could arrange to airdrop the arms to the FARC in Colombia, and offered to sell two cargo planes to the FARC that could be used for arms deliveries. Bout also provided a map of South America, and asked the operative to show him American radar locations in Colombia, DOJ said.
If convicted, Bout faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The United States is actively pursuing his extradition from Thailand.