Friday, March 7, 2008

Alleged Russian Arms Dealer Arrested

Russian businessman Viktor Bout was arrested by Thai police in a U.S. sting operation after years of slipping past accusations that he operated an arms-trafficking network that fueled wars from Africa to the Balkans to Asia.

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had been trying for nearly a year to lure Mr. Bout into showing up to finalize a fictitious $5 million deal to deliver a cache of guns and surface-to-air missiles to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas, or FARC, according to U.S. officials.

Mr. Bout, 41 years old, was arrested in Thailand yesterday along with an associate, Andrew Smulian, on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, according to court documents unsealed by federal prosecutors in New York's Southern District. U.S. authorities said they planned to seek the men's extradition to the U.S.

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