Thailand Extradites Russian Arms Suspect Viktor Bout to U.S.

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Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is extradited from Thailand to the United States on Tuesday. He is facing accusations of arms trafficking to dictators and conflict zones in Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was flown out of Thailand on Tuesday amid tight security.

He is to face terrorism charges in the United States.

Bout was taken from prison to an airport in Bangkok in a bulletproof vehicle.

Dozens of policemen, masked commandos and snipers were on high alert for Bout's transfer from the prison to the airport.

An airport official says Bout has now flown out on a flight charted to the U.S.

The 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer has been dubbed by many the "Merchant of Death." He faces accusations in the U.S. of arms trafficking to dictators and conflict zones in Africa, South America and the Middle East since the 1990s.

Bout has been fighting the extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok… as part of a joint U.S.-Thai sting operation in which agents posed as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The legal wrangling over his fate led to a two-year diplomatic tug of war between Washington and Moscow.

Russia's Foreign Ministry claims Bout is an innocent businessman facing a politically motivated extradition.

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