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Viktor Bout Extradited: Russian "Merchant of Death" in NYC Jail

Viktor Bout Extradited: Russian "Merchant of Death" in NYC Jail
Viktor Bout (Getty Images, file)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Viktor Bout, the extradited Russian arms trafficking suspect, has arrived at a New York City jail, CBS News reports.

After landing at Westchester County Airport, Bout was processed and then put into an armored vehicle. He was transported in a 10-car convoy to the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Manhattan.

He will be arraigned Wednesday on a federal indictment charging him with terrorism related charges in a Manhattan federal court.

The Justice Department announced Tuesday, "After more than two years of legal proceedings, alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout has been extradited to the Southern District of New York from Thailand to stand trial on terrorism charges."

Bout is accused of arming failed states and insurgents across the Third World since the 1990s. He was arrested in March 2008 in a sting operation led by U.S. narcotics agents.

Bout says he's a legitimate businessman. Russian diplomats had tried to persuade Thailand to release him.

Bout faces U.S. charges related to his alleged gunrunning empire - a prosecution that American officials describe as a milestone in international efforts to cripple the flow of illicit weapons that fuel conflicts around the world.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted with strong words after Bout was hustled from a Thai prison to a waiting jet. Russia branded the extradition "unlawful," prompted by "unprecedented political pressure from the USA."

Bout was charged with conspiracy, accused of agreeing to smuggle missiles and rocket launchers to the FARC, as well as conspiring to kill U.S. officers or employees. If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
November 16, 2010 - Viktor Bout Extradited: "Merchant of Death" Headed to U.S. After 2 Year Tug-of-War with Russia

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