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Entries in Arms Deal (1)

Tuesday
Feb152011

International Sting Nabs Americans in Taliban Arms Sale Deal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BUCHAREST, Romania) -- Two U.S. citizens have been arrested in an international sting operation for allegedly agreeing to provide arms -- everything from AK-47s to surface-to-air missiles -- to the Taliban, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

The Americans were arrested in Bucharest, Romania on Feb. 10 as part of a months-long operation that also nabbed five foreign nationals who allegedly told undercover federal informants they would smuggle "ton-quantities" of heroin and cocaine through West Africa to Europe and the U.S. for the terrorist organization.  The missiles the Americans purportedly offered to sell the Taliban were to be used to protect heroin laboratories, the documents said.

"This alleged effort to harm and enrich the Taliban is the latest example of the dangers of an interconnected world in which terrorists and drug runners can link up across continents to harm Americans," Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

The two Americans, Alwar Pouryan and Oded Orbach, were not involved directly in the narcotics portion of the operation, according to documents, but were connected through foreign national Maroun Saade.  Saade, a "narcotics trafficker operating in West Africa" and the only man charged in both the weapons sales and the narcotics deal, introduced the Drug Enforcement Administration's confidential sources to Pouryan, who is described as an arms trafficker, the documents allege.

The DEA said Orbach helped arrange the particulars of the weapons deal, including the prices of each item -- from night vision gun scopes to Stinger anti-aircraft weapons.  Orbach also allegedly offered to send someone to train the Taliban in the use of the weapons.

Evidence against the Americans includes emails, taped phone conversations and recorded in-person meetings that took place in Ghana, Ukraine and Romania, the DEA said. 

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