DEA informant gives testimony in Bout case

One of the highest-paid informants of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) started giving his testimony in a trial against alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The informant, whom the case materials identify as “Carlos,” received more than $7 million throughout his career. He reportedly took part in a sting operation against international arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar, who was arrested under same circumstances as Bout.

During Tuesday’s hearings, the court also began hearing voice records from meetings between Carlos and Bout, during which the informant posed as a FARC insurgent who wants to purchase weapons.

The conversations on the record are barely audible and are mostly in Spanish. The jury members were given transcripts of the recorded conversations, translated into English.

The trial against Bout started a week ago in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. It is expected to continue for three or four weeks.

Bout is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, conspiracy to kill U.S. officials, conspiracy to sell missiles and conspiracy to support terrorism by cooperating with a designated terrorist group. The Russian national denies all charges against him.

Bout’s lawyer, Albert Dayan, told a 12-person jury panel that Bout, who used to be in the air cargo business, was trying to sell two planes, not weapons, when he discussed an arms deal in Thailand with two undercover U.S. agents who posed as South American FARC revolutionaries.

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