It was as classic a sting operation as any that have unfolded on Manhattan’s streets: a government cooperator offered a fictitious deal, and baited a suspect into agreeing to participate in illegal activity.Read the rest here.
But in this instance, the target was Viktor Bout, a reputed arms trafficker who lived in Moscow; the purported deal involved selling arms to Colombian terrorists; and the sting involved meetings in the Netherlands Antilles, Romania, Denmark and, finally, Thailand, where Mr. Bout was lured, arrested and eventually extradited to the United States.
The case of Mr. Bout, who is now awaiting trial in Manhattan, illustrates the expanded global reach of the office of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Since 2004, the office has sent prosecutors into more than 25 countries as part of investigations that have brought back dozens of suspected arms and narcotics traffickers and terrorists to Manhattan to face charges. And some of them have involved stings like the one that snared Mr. Bout.
With the Drug Enforcement Administration, the office has also taken the lead in bringing cases under a 2006 narco-terrorism law that makes it easier to prosecute international drug traffickers if a link to terrorism can be shown — even if prosecutors cannot prove that the drugs entered the United States.