Syrian in FARC sting extradicted to US

AP/Washington Post:

A wealthy international arms dealer was extradited Friday to the United States to face charges that he supplied millions of dollars in weapons to Colombian rebels to attack American forces there.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents accompanied Monzer al-Kassar on a private flight from Madrid that arrived in New York on Friday. He was to be arraigned in federal court in Manhattan.

Kassar, who was born in Syria and is a longtime resident of Spain, was arrested in Madrid last June as part of a U.S. sting operation. An indictment accuses him of conspiring to support terrorists, conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers, conspiring to acquire and use antiaircraft missiles, and money laundering.

Kassar "intended to provide millions of dollars worth of legal weapons to a foreign terrorist organization to be used to kill Americans," U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia said in a statement.


In the sting operation, U.S. officials said, undercover DEA officers arranged a fictitious deal with Kassar, convincing him that they represented rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

They said they wanted to buy surface-to-air missile systems, rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, thousands of machine guns and millions of rounds of ammunition for the group to take down U.S. helicopters aiding Colombia's battle against drug traffickers.


This is part of the logistic strategy against terrorist organizations. A similar sting operation nabbed a Russian arms merchant in Thailand. It is possible that these guys may have sold weapons to others that the government has an interest in. They would be wise to cut a deal and disclose their customer list.


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