NEW YORK — Russian arms trafficking suspect Viktor Bout was flown Tuesday from Bangkok to New York in a chartered US plane, extradited in manacles to face terrorism charges despite a final outraged push by Russian diplomats to persuade Thailand to release him, American authorities said.
A former Soviet military officer and air cargo executive nicknamed the Merchant of Death by critics, Bout (pronounced boot) had been accused of arming failed states and insurgents across the Third World since the 1990s.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said Bout was considered "one of the world's most prolific arms traffickers" and stood accused of "conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to a terrorist organization for use in trying to kill Americans."
"Viktor Bout has been indicted in the United States, but his alleged arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts in Africa has been a cause of concern around the world," Holder said in a statement. "His extradition is a victory for the rule of law worldwide."