Viktor Bout DEA Informants Paid Close to $1 Million

Testimony began today in the trial of Viktor Bout (background here.)

The first government witness today was William Brown, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who managed the investigation. The three undercover sources used to make contact with Bout and his associates and pretend to be FARC members were paid almost $1 million for their work on the case, he testified.

Bout, like other recent defendants in New York's Southern District kidnapped from foreign countries and brought to the U.S. for trial, lost his motion to dismiss the case based on manufactured jurisdiction. The judge granted his motion to suppress his statements to the DEA following his arrest in Thailand. [More...]

Bloomberg reports:

Scheindlin in August granted a motion from Bout’s lawyers to exclude statements he made to DEA agents after his arrest in Bangkok in March 2008, saying the agents ignored Bout’s request for more time to decide whether to talk.

That was hardly the only reason. From the judge's order, available on PACER:

In sum, based on the totality of the circumstances just described – the dramatic arrest, followed by a strip search and a non-consensual search of his belongings; handcuffs and a perp walk; the denial of his request for an attorney and contact with his embassy; the disregard of his statements that he did not wish to meet with the Americans and then that he was not in the frame of mind to speak with them that day; and Bout’s understandable belief that he would be abandoned to the rough conditions of a Thai jail if he did not cooperate with the Americans – I conclude that Bout’s statements were not made voluntarily and must therefore be suppressed.

Bout's defense, via the BBC:

Viktor Bout's lawyer says his client was the victim of a bait-and-switch con scheme by ex-criminal US informants posing as Colombian rebels. The wire-tapped conversations between Viktor Bout and Carlos and Richard, the US Drug Enforcement Agency sources, will be at the heart of the case.

In opening argument:

His defence lawyer, Albert Dayan, argued that his client had only agreed with DEA operatives to secure the sale of two transport jets, for a total cost of $5m. He told the jury Mr Bout had subsequently lost his transport business and was working in real estate when he became the target of the US government sting.

"Viktor was baiting them along with the promise of arms, hoping just to sell his planes," Mr Dayan said.

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  • Display: Sort:
    i'm going out on a short limb, (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:46:56 PM EST
    and guessing they aren't paid an average of "333,000 apiece.:

    Undercover cops are also paid to work undercover.

    as a rule, undercover cops probably also don't criminal charges hanging over their heads, as so many informants do, so they aren't looking to cut a deal with the DA, in return for their undercover work, as so many informants are.

    just a guess.

    oh, i forgot to add, (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:50:07 PM EST
    it's funny how we don't have enough money to ensure all our citizens eat on a daily basis and have adequate health care, but we always seem to have money in the till to go to foreign countries and kidnap/assassinate people. i guess that's cheaper.

    paying undercover agents (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:05:53 PM EST
    Undercover cops are also paid to work undercover.  The jury can decide whether or not to believe their testimony, especially if it is corroborated by external evidence.
    It is actually important to have lots of sting operations...it would be much harder and take much longer for a real terrorist to launch an operation if he thought that there were a fifty-fifty chance that everyone with whom he dealt were an informant.