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August 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: viktor bout

A DEA Agent, an Undercover Sting and the Capture of ‘The Merchant of Death’

Arms Dealer Viktor Bout/ dea photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON –– The DEA agents sat day after day in their smoke-filled command post in a Bucharest police station, checking their phones and e-mails for confirmation that one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers was coming.

Their sting was an elaborate one, a ruse involving a multimillion-dollar weapons deal between their informants posing as rebels in Colombia and Viktor Bout, a legendary arms trafficker known as “The Merchant of Death.”

But when Bout failed to show in Romania after two agonizing weeks of waiting, the agents decided to bow out for the moment, fearful of looking over-eager. They let Bout know they still wanted to meet him someplace else, and soon — although there was a risk he would slip away.

“If we were real, we would say we have other stuff to do,” said Lou Milione, the Drug Enforcement Administration agent who oversaw the high-stakes sting. “We just wouldn’t continue to wait. We were confident he would stay interested, but there is always that risk something would happen and he wouldn’t keep his interest.”

To read the full story click here.


International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Gets 25 Years

dea photo

By Shoshanna Utchenik

It’s going to be a long time before international arms dealer Viktor Bout sees daylight again.

The DEA announced late last week that Bout was sentenced in New York to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s to the Colombian terrorist group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “FARC”).

Authorities said that Bout understood the weapons would be used to kill Americans in Colombia.

He was convicted on the charges last November 2.

“The crimes Viktor Bout committed represent the worst case scenario for modern law enforcement–the merger of criminal international narcotics cartels with their terrorism enablers,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added in a statement: “Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe. He was finally brought to justice in an American court for agreeing to provide a staggering number of military grade weapons to an avowed terrorist organization committed to killing Americans. Today’s sentence is a fitting coda for this career arms trafficker of the most dangerous order.”

Identity of Informant in Viktor Bout Case Revealed; He Had a Long, Lucrative Career and Made $9 Million-Plus

dea photo

By Danny Fenster

After earning more than $9 million over the course of 15 years as one of the government’s highest paid informants in history, Carlos Sagastume unveiled his identity at the New York  trial of international arms dealer Viktor Bout, reports the Associated Press.

Bout’s month-long trial ended in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday when he was convicted of conspiracy charges, leaving him facing a potential life sentence.

Sagastume posed as a member of the Columbian guerrilla terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), coaxing Bout to travel from Russia to Thailand in March of 2008. The trip was supposed to be an opportunity for the twoto  arrange for weapons to be sent to Colombian rebels fighting American forces.

Most of Sagastume’s money was made working for the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program, where he made $7.5 million in two rewards through the DEA. He made another $1.6 million spread across 150 investigations. The work with Bout brought him $250,000.

“One would think that one’s cover would be blown much earlier,” Myrna S. Raeder, a Southwestern Law School professor, told the AP. “This sounds like fodder for a movie with that kind of background.”

To read more click here.


NY U.S. Atty’s Office Goes More Global Since 2004

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Allan Lengel

From reputed Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke to notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has become aggressively global, indicting international figures from around the world, the New York Times reports.

Since 2004,  the Times’ Ben Weiser reports that the office has sent prosecutors to 25-plus 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.”

The paper reported that some other U.S. Attorney’s Offices like the one in Alexandria, Va., have also built international cases, but none appear to have done so in similar number or variety as the New York office.

“I think they are pursuing more kinds of international cases, with a deliberateness that’s new,” ex-N.Y. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White told the Times.

The current U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was appointed to his post in 2009,  told the Times that it has become necessary in the post-911 era.

“As crime has gone global and national security threats are global,” he said, “in my view the long arm of the law has to get even longer. We can’t wait until bombs are going off.”

To read full story click here.

U.S. Extradites International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout From Thailand

(dea photo)
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In the eyes of Russian officials, Viktor Bout is an innocent businessman being railroaded — quite contrary to the American view that he’s a cunning and dangerous arms dealer worthy of the moniker “Merchant of Death.”

Clad in black T-shirt and black sweat pants, Bout briefly appeared this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, represented by a federal defender. He entered a not guilty plea and was ordered held without bail pending his next court appearance, set for Jan. 10.

“Yes, your honor,” Bout told U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin when asked if he understood the charges, the New York Daily News reported.

The case has garnered international attention and caused Cold War-like strains between Russia and the U.S. And things heated up when he was extradited from Thailand and arrived Tuesday in New York aboard a plane chartered by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

U.S. authorities allege that Bout had agreed to supply arms and weapons to two confidential sources for the DEA who posed as Colombian rebels intending to kill American pilots patrolling the drug war.

To read more click here.