November 16th, 2010
12:58 PM ET

Suspected arms dealer arrives in New York


Viktor Bout with Thai authorities in October.

Alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout, inspiration for a lead character in the film "Lord of War" starring Nicolas Cage, was extradited to the United States on terrorism charges Tuesday. The mustachioed Russian arrived in New York on a U.S. chartered jet from Thailand.

Bout had been held in a Thai jail since March 2008 when he was arrested in a sting operation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Agents posed as members of Colombia's rebel group FARC.

Bout is accused of supplying weapons to war zones from Sierra Leone to Afghanistan. He says  he's innocent.

The Russian government is upset about the extradition and has called the move "illegal." Russian officials blamed the United States for exacting "unprecedented political pressure" on Thai courts.

Bout has rarely given interviews, though one example stands out which was published in 2003 in the New York Times. Journalists Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun wrote a book about Bout. In August, Farah wrote in Foreign Policy about why Bout may not stand trial.

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Filed under: Colombia • New York • Terrorism • Thailand • Viktor Bout
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