Up in Arms

Published — April 6, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Russian arms dealer gets 25-year prison sentence

Russian Arms dealer Victor Bout looks up from a jail cell as he is processed in Bangkok, Thailand, after being arrested in a joint US-Thai sting operation in 2008. David Longstreath/The Associated Press

Victor Bout, one of the world’s most notorious weapons traffickers, was the subject of a 2002 ICIJ investigation


A judge in New York sentenced arms dealer Victor Bout Thursday to 25 years in prison, permanently ending his run as perhaps the world’s most notorious weapons-dealing kingpin.

Bout was convicted on charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens, conspiracy to kill U.S. employees, conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist group.

U.S. agents posing as members of the FARC terrorist group captured him in Thailand during a 2008 sting operation. It took over two years for Bout, a Russian, to be extradited to stand trial in New York.

In 2002, the Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published “The merchant of death,” a massive exposé on Bout’s activities throughout the world. For more, read the full series, Making a Killing, here.

Read more in National Security

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