International arms dealer Viktor Bout arrested in Thailand

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Viktor Bout, an international arms dealer, has been arrested in Thailand. Bout was arrested by the Royal Thai Police on Thursday, after checking in at a Sofitel luxury hotel in the Si Lom district of Bangkok.

Viktor Bout is suspected of supplying arms to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, FARC, as well as combatants on both sides of African civil wars. He has been dubbed the "Merchant of Death" by the press as well as the book Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes and the Man Who Makes War Possible by Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun.

At a press conference held by Thai police they said that Bout is being investigated for "procuring weapons for terrorists and conspiring with terrorists." According to Maj. Gen. Surapol Thuanthong, Bout said "The game is over" when he was arrested.

"This multi-country operation culminating in the arrest of Viktor Bout in Thailand is a model for how suspected dangerous international criminals need to be investigated, charged and brought to justice in the 21st century," said Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble.

Federal prosecutors in the United States hope to get Bout extradited for prosecution on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The 2005 film Lord of War has been said to have been inspired by Viktor Bout.