Alleged ex-Soviet military officer-cum-arms dealer Viktor Bout had files and links on his computer related to the Colombian rebel group known as FARC, according to an expert witness who testified at his trial on Monday. The prosecution says this proves that Bout intended to illegally sell vast quantities of weapons to the guerilla organization.
Computer expert Steven Marx, a witness for the prosecution, told the court that the dossier about FARC on Bout’s computer was created and accessed in the days before his arrest, which shows intent to sell his weapons to the terrorist organization.
Marx said that the records are dated to the days before Bout planned to travel from Russia to Thailand in July 2008 to meet men he thought were representatives of the FARC. The men turned out to be undercover agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who helped Thai police arrest Bout after a meeting in a Bangkok hotel.
Bout is accused of four counts of conspiracy related to arms smuggling and terrorism.
The first witness to testify against Bout, nicknamed the “Lord of War,” was DEA Agent William Brown, who was one of the agents who met with Bout in Thailand’s capital city. Brown told the court that Bout met with a former friend, Andrew Smulian, and two confidential DEA informants posing as members of the FARC in March 2008.
Brown said that at this secretly-recorded meeting, Bout agreed to airdrop arms to FARC, and further offered to sell them two cargo planes to be used for arms deliveries. Bout allegedly also asked the men to show him the American radar locations in Columbia.
According to Brown, Bout indicated an understanding that the arms he was to deliver would be used to attack American personnel in Columbia. Bout allegedly told the men that the United States represented an enemy to him, and that he was fighting alongside the FARC, offering to train some of their operatives.
Bout has pled not guilty on all charges and his lawyer Albert Dayan insists that his client is a businessman who was only trying to sell aircrafts.
Bout’s trial began on October 12. If he is found guilty, Bout will face a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The trial will resume on Monday.