Thursday, September 04 2014 @ 06:14 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
VIGLAKIS, who was arrested in Panama City, Panama, in August 2012 and subsequently turned over to the custody of the United States, pled guilty on December 10, 2013, to attempting to provide material support to the FARC, which has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Secretary of State. VIGLAKIS pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest, who also imposed today’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Ioannis Viglakis attempted to sell military-grade weapons to the FARC, a terrorist organization, which has used such weapons to shoot down American aircraft in Colombia. For attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization in this way, Viglakis has been sentenced to 120 months in prison.”
According to the Indictment, other public filings in this case, and statements made at VIGLAKIS’s guilty plea and at today’s sentencing:
Beginning in November 2011, VIGLAKIS had a series of meetings with a DEA confidential source (the “CS”) who represented himself as an associate of the FARC. During those meetings, which took place in Europe and Central America, the CS informed VIGLAKIS that he was seeking weapons for use by the FARC to attack American forces in Colombia. VIGLAKIS offered to provide the FARC with functional, bona fide, military-grade weapons – including assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (“RPG”) launchers and surface-to-air missiles – in exchange for cocaine and cash. During the meetings, VIGLAKIS and the CS discussed the FARC’s use of these weapons to fight the Colombian and American governments, including by shooting down American aircraft in Colombia.
Over the following months, VIGLAKIS indicated that he would provide the CS with several RPG launchers as a sample. On July 18, 2012, VIGLAKIS successfully arranged for the delivery of six live RPGs and three working RPG launchers in Europe, which were received by a DEA undercover agent.
Then, in August 2012, during meetings in Panama, VIGLAKIS gave the CS approximately 8,500 euros as a partial payment to the FARC to transport a multi-kilogram shipment of cocaine to Spain on his behalf, and further offered to provide the CS with approximately 200 hand grenades in exchange for additional kilograms of cocaine.
In addition to his prison term, VIGLAKIS, 54, a citizen of Greece, was to pay a $100 special assessment fee.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the Special Operations Division of the DEA, as well as the DEA’s Panama Country Office, Madrid Country Office, and Copenhagen Country Office. Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and National Security Division, the U.S. Department of State, and the Government of the Republic of Panama.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian R. Everdell, Aimee Hector, and Michael Lockard are in charge of the prosecution. (lawfuel.com)