New Delay in Alleged Trafficker's Case

For the second time in as many months, a Thai court has postponed a hearing to determine whether alleged Russian arms dealer Victor Bout will be extradited to face terrorism charges in the United States.

Thai authorities arrested Bout in Bangkok in March in a joint operation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. His first extradition hearing, scheduled for June 9, was delayed because Bout's then-lawyer, Lak Nitiwatanavichan, reportedly had heart problems.

Monday's hearing was postponed because his new lawyer, Vipon Kititasnaisornchai, failed to appear at the hearing. The hearing was rescheduled for September 22.

In March a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Bout on terrorism charges, after DEA informants allegedly caught Bout in a false scheme to provide millions of dollars worth of weaponry to the Columbian rebel group FARC, which the U.S. government has designated a terrorist organization.

Through a lawyer, Bout has asserted his innocence.

Bout had long been wanted by authorities for allegedly fueling violence in conflict zones around the globe in Africa, Central Asia, Europe and South America. Originally from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Bout has allegedly profited by providing weapons and transport into the world's most hostile environments, including civil wars in the Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In addition, experts say Bout received roughly $60 million in U.S. government funds to fly supplies into Iraq and Afghanistan to support war efforts there.

Jason Ryan contributed to this report.

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