|In International Guns-for-Drugs Deal, Target: Americans|
|Lee Ferran||Dec 11, 2013, 4:24 PM|
A Greek national pleaded guilty Tuesday to offering to supply high-powered weapons to a Colombian terrorist group, which he thought would use them to target American troops, in exchange for drugs. The only problem was, he was unwittingly dealing with the Drug Enforcement Administration all along, according to federal officials.
Ioannis Viglakis, also known as "Pablo," was arrested in Panama last August but recently struck a deal with the government to plead guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC. Viglakis faces up to 15 years in prison.
Court records show Viglakis held secret meetings in Europe and Central America with an associate he thought was connected to FARC, but was actually a DEA confidential source. During the meetings, Viglakis offered to provide FARC with "military-grade weapons - including assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers and surface-to-air missiles - in exchange for cocaine and cash," the DEA said.
Federal officials said Viglakis discussed how to use the weapons, including the targeting American aircraft in Colombia. Later, Viglakis arranged for the DEA source to receive several live RPGs in Europe.
"This investigation clearly demonstrates DEA's unique ability to disrupt and dismantle the arms-trafficking networks that supply weapons to the most significant global narco-terror organizations," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. "DEA will continue to aggressively pursue international arms dealers and narco-terrorists who are focused on harming our nation's security."
Viglakis is scheduled to be sentenced in April.