Russian Arms Dealer Gets 25 Years in Prison

Posted April 5th, 2012 at 6:35 pm (UTC-5)
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A U.S. judge has sentenced Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges for attempting to sell missiles to Colombian rebels.

Bout, who prosecutors dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” shouted during the sentencing hearing that charges against him were a lie.

He called himself a legitimate businessman. His lawyer says he will appeal the sentence all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Federal prosecutors said Bout's weapons sales helped inflame wars in Africa. They say he was planning to sell surface-to-air missiles to Colombian rebels to shoot down U.S. helicopters.

U.S. agents posing as rebels arrested him in Thailand in 2008. He was extradited to the United States, tried, and convicted in November.

Bout insisted he was trying to sell cargo planes, not weapons, to the agents

Bout could have gotten life in prison. But the judge said he was the victim of a U.S. sting operation by undercover agents. She said there was no evidence he would have tried to sell arms to the Colombians if there had not been a sting.

But the judge said Bout is a dangerous man.