RusData Dialine - Russian Press Digest
March 16, 2005 Wednesday

Smugglers of Russian-made weapons held in the United States

by Roman Kirillov

SOURCE: Izvestia, No 42, p.1


U.S. authorities charged 18 people in an alleged scheme to smuggle
grenade launchers, shoulder-fired missiles and other Russian military
weapons into the United States.

The arrests resulted from a yearlong investigation in which an FBI
informant posed as an arms buyer who claimed to have ties to
al-Qaida.

The case, which took investigators to South Africa, Armenia and
Georgia, also included wiretaps on seven phones and interceptions of
more than 15,000 calls, according to prosecutors, the FBI and police.

Seventeen of the 18 people charged were in custody on Tuesday,
arrested in New York, Los Angeles or Florida, authorities said.
Prosecutors alleged that the defendants were preparing to import the
weapons, including anti-tank missile systems, into the country from
Eastern Europe.

Several of the defendants are from the former Soviet republics.