International arms dealer Viktor Bout was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons, including hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s to the Colombian FARC.
In addition to his prison term, Judge Scheindlin sentenced Bout to five years of supervised released and ordered him to forfeit $15 million.
The sentencing brings an end to the career of the world’s most notorious weapons smuggler. “The crimes Viktor Bout committed represent the worst case scenario for modern law enforcement--the merger of criminal international narcotics cartels with their terrorism enablers,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said.
“But,” Leonhart added, “his sentencing today also reflects the best of modern international law enforcement-- sophisticated, determined, and coordinated. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of criminal investigators and prosecutors in the United States, Thailand, Romania, Curacao and elsewhere, the 'Merchant of Death' has finally been held to account in a court of law for his years of profiteering from death and misery around the world”
According to evidence presented at Bout’s trial, Bout has been an international weapons trafficker since the 1990s. Between November 2007 and March 2008, he agreed to sell millions of dollars' worth of weapons to the FARC, including 700 to 800 surface-to-air missiles ("SAMs"), over 20,000 AK-47 firearms, 10 million rounds of ammunition, five tons of C-4 plastic explosives, "ultralight" airplanes outfitted with grenade launchers, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Bout agreed to sell the weapons to two confidential sources working with the DEA, who represented that they were acquiring them for the FARC, with the specific understanding that the weapons were to be used to attack U.S. helicopters in Colombia.
“We have the same enemy,” Bout told the confidential sources, referring to the United States. He also stated that the FARC's fight against the United States was also his fight and that he had been “fighting the United States for ten to fifteen years.” During the meeting, he also offered to provide people to train the FARC in the use of the arms.
The infamous “Lord of War” was arrested in Thailand in March 2008. He was subsequently charged in a four-count indictment in April 2008 and extradited to New York in November 2010. At trial, he was convicted of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals; conspiring to kill U.S. officers and employees; conspiring to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles; and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
This website was among the first online to write about Viktor Bout. You can read the profile of him here.
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