NEW YORK — A Manhattan federal jury on Wednesday convicted Russian arms trader Viktor Bout of four counts of conspiracy to sell antiaircraft weapons and other arms to purported Colombian rebels to kill Americans. He faces a term of 25 years to life in prison.
The verdict closed the door on a five-year-old sting operation — led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and spanning three continents — that lured Bout out of Russia to a Bangkok hotel where Thai police arrested him in March 2008 as he tried to close a deal with federal informants. He was sent to New York in October 2010, after a lengthy extradition battle that heightened tensions between the United States and Russia.
The jury convicted Bout of all four charges, including conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiracy to kill U.S. government officers and employees, conspiracy to acquire and use antiaircraft missiles, and conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. District Judge Shira Scheindlin scheduled a sentencing hearing for Feb. 8.