International Arms Dealer Extradited on Terrorism Offenses
NEW YORK- Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michele M. Leonhart, the Acting Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced that international arms dealer Monzer Al Kassar, a/k/a Abu Munawar, a/k/a El Taous, arrived in New York today after being extradited from Spain on federal terrorism charges. Al Kassar was extradited to New York for his participation in a conspiracy to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the FARC) -- a designated foreign terrorist organization -- to be used to kill Americans in Colombia. Al Kassar’s co-defendants, Tareq Mousa Al Ghazi and Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, were both previously extradited to New York from Romania to face the same terrorism charges. According to the superseding Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:
Since the early 1970s, Al Kassar has been a source of weapons and military equipment for armed factions engaged in violent conflicts around the world. Some of these factions have included known terrorist organizations, such as the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF), the goals of which included attacking United States interests and United States nationals.
To carry out his weapons-trafficking business, Al Kassar developed an international network of criminal associates, including co-defendants Al Ghazi and Moreno Godoy, as well as front companies and bank accounts in various countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania. Additionally, Al Kassar has engaged in money-laundering transactions in bank accounts throughout the world to disguise the illicit nature of his criminal proceeds. See, USDOJ.