'Merchant of Death' Arrives to Stand Trial in New York

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"With Viktor Bout now behind bars in the United States, this defendant will finally face his most feared consequence: accountability for his alleged crimes in a court of law," Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the DEA, said in a statement. "For more than a decade, Mr. Bout is alleged to have plied a deadly trade in surface-to-air missiles, land mines, bullets, death and destruction.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. added, "Viktor Bout allegedly jumped at the chance to arm narco-terrorists bent on killing Americans with an arsenal of military grade weapons. Today's successful extradition underscores our commitment to protect Americans on our own soil and throughout the world."

"Viktor Bout is in custody today as a result of a bold and innovative DEA operation," said Bharara.

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According to Bharara, who cited court documents, the operation used undercover operatives and confidential sources on three continents, and the case against Bout includes covertly recorded meetings, emails, accomplice testimony and telephone conversations.

Asked to comment on Russian anger and allegations that Bout's extradition was illegal, Bharara said, "We complied with our law, international law and Thai law."

Bout is scheduled to be presented in Manhattan federal court Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, to whom the case has been assigned.

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