Viktor Bout, the most notorious of the post-Cold War gunrunners, has been
arrested. In Thailand. He was lured their while working on a deal to sell
weapons to South American rebels.
his career as a fast-track Russian air force officer. But in 1993 he found
himself out of a job, as part of the post-Cold War meltdown of the Soviet armed
forces. What made Bout so successful over the next decade was his ability to
acquire surplus, or simply underutilized, Russian military air transports, and
fill them with Cold War surplus weapons, and then deliver the stuff anywhere in
the world. Islamic terrorists, African warlords and South American drug gangs
were all customers. Bout would take cash, or precious metals and gems, and
quickly learned how to park his money in safe places. Although Bout has lots of powerful friends in
Russia, he became so notorious that he was forced to take up residence in the
UAE (United Arab Emirates). Many nations have been after him, including
Thailand and the United States. The U.S. wants to prosecute Bout first, and has
warned Thailand that Bout has powerful friends, who may take extraordinary
measures to get him out of captivity.