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
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    There is this adage that everybody's innocent until proven guilty,but in this case this man will be guilty until proven innocent if that ever happens which is quite dubious. Besides,even if he did supply the F.A.R.C. guerillas in Colombia,he should be exonorated since these people are fighting injusice within their own country!

    November 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MikeB

    "Mr. Bout, we're from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobbaco, and Firearms."
    "Let me guess. This isn't about alcohol or tobbaco, is it?"

    November 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArtFin

      Subtle Americano humor?

      November 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jodraco

    What is the common denominator? Why is it the same old common denominator keeps rearing it's head?
    Viktor Bout and Yair Klein and other merchants of death (arms dealers) can go in and out of Israel and Russia at will. These two countries are their home base of operations and safe houses. Why are all the big arms dealers Ashkenazi Jews?
    Viktor Bout and Yair Klein and many thousands of others of their clan are able to go in and out of Russia and Israel with impunity and be protected by these two countries. Russian and Israeli Dual Citizenship and passports are provided for these international gangster/terrorists by these two governments. Why? Could it be that these two countries are run
    and controlled by the same DNA gene pool?
    Why are all the world's big drug warlords being advised by Ashkenazi Jews? A few months back, the USA arrested a spy ring cell of Ashkenazi Jews, in New York, all of whom were immediately send back to Russia to be received by
    the Russian Government as returning national heros? Why does the world continually allow these private terrorist/arms dealers to operate with impunity?

    November 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • george

      To jodraco.
      DNA pool? Hmmm, you certainly don't sound as a real Arien, neither wasp or good catholic, neither you share 'dna pool' with them.

      November 16, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. alex

    the common donominator is international law which should be applied universally regardless of power. In this case the international law is applied in a wrong way. Instead of beeing brought back to Russia for a trial, this Russian citizen is extradicted to the USA. I am not talking here about how fair or unfair he be prosecuted back home. My point that the decision to extradict a Russia citizen in a country other then his home country is against the international law. That situation reflects the true rule of the world: the one is right who has more influence one others. History sees empires raise and fall. Very soon you will witness that China is right.

    November 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Since when do the right-wing thugs in Washington respect international law? The only respect they seem to have is for brute force as they think only might makes right!

      November 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wolfman

    Maybe he is CIA?

    November 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wolfman

    I thought Sonny Bono had died.

    November 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. joy

    who needs an arms dealer when we can buy then on the streets just ask our young people

    November 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bill

    just what we need,,,, another arms dealer in the usa
    why didn't he have an accident on the way? , like trying to escape ooops i had to shoot him

    November 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sgt. Slaughter

    Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms

    Sounds more like the name of a good store in town

    Not a gov't agency

    November 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lucci

    Makes no sense that we let Russia and Israel, in particular, allow these people to walk free.

    November 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. not russian

    if youre a billionaire, why on earth you go dealing when you can afford the best lobbyist there is.. i mean even the former GB PM is out doing his own work washing dirty money with his fund for the X but aint nobody trying him out because he is a smart fellow never talking bad about anybody and always sends out small people to do the bad work !

    November 17, 2010 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. to alex

    you dont say and i mean ever say that you want to hurt americans and then sell destructive equipment and that on tape in which is unedited. this billionaire was just lucky with his first money, this time hes working for us or no one 🙂 then though its cold in NY, he probably wished we still had the monkeys at the island in the bermudas 🙂

    November 17, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Drew

    The article clearly states he is being brought to the US to face charges for intent to provide weapons to terrorists so they could kill americans. How is that a violation of international law? We dealt with Thailand and handled it properly (on the surface). Its very strange that the russian gvt wants to "support in every way possible" a well KNOWN arms dealer. I could understand if the guy was a russian dentist and he got popped with a few guns in his trunk, but this guy is INTERNATIONALY known as being the notorious "merchant of death". He should be held accountable for the crimes he committed in the country that spent the man hours and tax dollars to track him down.

    November 17, 2010 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. CPT Comedy

    He didn't do anything Reagan and Bush didn't do. Iran Contra Redux

    November 17, 2010 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. CPT Comedy

    DEA? For guns? Hmm, next up....Delta Force takes over parking enforcement at Disneyland!

    November 17, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |