Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has been found guilty in Manhattan of conspiracy to kill Americans and US officials, deliver anti-aircraft missiles and aid a terrorist organization. Nicknamed the Merchant of Death, Bout was accused of attempting to sell weapons to Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials reportedly posed as FARC members to negotiate with Bout, whose lawyers claim that he had no intention of selling the illegal items but was instead seeking to offload two old planes that he hoped would fetch about $5m. The Manhattan jury did not believe this explanation.
The weapons were allegedly going to be used by FARC to attack US forces that are assisting Colombia’s government in cracking down on militant groups. Bout allegedly said that “we have the same enemy” at one point while dealing with the informants, which prosecutors allege was a reference to the Americans.