A notorious arms dealer has been convicted in a federal court in New York City for attempting to sell weapons to a Colombian terrorist organization.
Monzer al-Kassar, 61, was arrested in Spain in June 2007 and extradited to New York a year later to face charges of conspiracy to supply weapons to a terrorist organization, conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and money laundering. Kasser tried to sell weapons to two confidential sources posing as representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a group designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
During a meeting at Kassar's Marbella residence, he promised to provide surface-to-air missile systems, RPG launchers, machine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and ammunition to the confidential sources in return for $8 million, according to the indictment, which was unsealed in New York on June 8, 2007.
Al Kassar also offered to have "his experts train the FARC and fortify them with his own thousand-man army to ensure their success in attacking and killing Americans," according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Two other co-defendants, Tareq Mousa Al Ghazi and Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, are also named in the indictment. Both men, who allegedly worked under Kassar, were arrested in Romania and may be extradited to the U.S. The indictment alleges that Ghazi brokered "weapons transaction" and Godoy managed "financial matters" for Kassar.
During Kassar's career, which spans more than three decades, he "has been a source of weapons and military equipment for armed factions engaged in violent conflicts around the world," including to "known terrorist organizations, such as the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF)," according to the indictment.
In 1992, Kassar was arrested in Spain and charged for providing arms to the PLF for the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, during which the terrorists murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American confined to a wheelchair. Following a three year trial, Kassar was acquitted of all charges after three key witnesses of the prosecution did not testify.