Conflict & Justice

Viktor Bout, merchant of death, lord of war, awaits sentencing on terrorism charges


Former Soviet military officer and arms trafficking suspect Viktor Bout (C) is escorted from a plane at Westchester County Airport November 16, 2010 in White Plains, New York. Bout was extradited from Thailand to the U.S. to face terrorism charges.


U.S. Department of Justice

NEW YORK - Viktor Bout, the former KGB agent known as the “Merchant of Death” and the inspiration for the 2005 film Lord of War, is to be sentenced tomorrow for selling weapons to Colombian rebels who planned to kill Americans, according to The Associated Press.

Bout, 45, faces a minimum of 25 years and possible life in prison following his November conviction on four conspiracy counts in a federal court here.

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In a pre-sentencing telephone interview with Voice of Russia, Bout compared himself to a hunting trophy prized by the US government.

“I am like a hunted deer that they killed and now…want to take a picture; like I’m some wild animal and now they caught me and they’re going to put me in their kitchen and show their kids and their grandkids and say, ‘Oh, we hunted that animal,’” he said, according to Russia Today.

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The AP said that in a memorandum on sentencing, US prosecutors said the court should give Bout the maximum penalty due to his willingness “without hesitation and with frightening speed” to send “a breathtaking arsenal of weapons” along with, machine guns, surface-to-air missiles, sniper rifles and 10 million rounds of ammunition to Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, which he believed would be used to kill Americans.