The Russian arms dealer branded "the merchant of death" was apprehended in Thailand today after US intelligence linked him to Colombia rebels, the New York Times reports. Viktor Bout is on international most-wanted lists for allegedly using his private air fleet to supply al Qaeda and the Taliban—plus war-torn African countries—with weapons. The US plans to seek his extradition.
The former Soviet air force officer built his arms-trafficking empire by founding international cargo transport companies to smuggle weapons out of the former USSR. He denies trading with the Taliban, but he and an associate face charges of providing terrorists with material support, the Times reports. But "things snowball when they start talking about him," said his associate.