Accused Russian Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Extradited to U.S.
November 16, 2010
(ChattahBox U.S. News)—-In an unexpected and swift move, heavily armed Thai officers escorted Viktor Bout—known as the “Merchant of Death”—to a U.S.-bound plane to face charges of selling weapons to terrorists, the U.K. Telegraph reports.
Bout was initially arrested in 2008 following a joint U.S.-Thai operation in which he allegedly offered to sell weapons to American undercover agents posing as Colombian FARC rebels. The arrest took place in Bangkok, and American officials have tried to bring Bout to the U.S. to face charges, but previous attempts to extradite the 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer were stalled.
Bout claims that he was simply a businessman operating an air transport company, and the Russian government has fought his extradition to the U.S. Reports indicate that Bout may have administration backing in Moscow and that Russian officials could fear that Bout’s move to the U.S. might compromise delicate secrets, the Telegraph reports.