Notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout—otherwise known as “the Merchant of Death”—was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday, after being convicted in November for conspiring to sell surface-to-air missiles, to sell weapons to a foreign terrorist group, and to kill Americans. Thursday’s sentence ends Bout’s four-year drama with the U.S. government. He was arrested in 2008 in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation in Thailand, when federal agents posing as Colombian rebels attempted to buy missiles, mines, and assault rifles from the former Soviet Air Force officer. Bout, 45, maintained his innocence even after his conviction and pleaded not guilty to the judge during Thursday’s hearing in Manhattan.
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