Russian Arms Suspect To Appear In NYC Court

(AP) A Russian labeled the "Merchant of Death" by those who claim he fueled some of the world's deadly Third World conflicts over the last decade with powerful weapons has arrived in the United States. He faces charges he supported terrorists trying to overthrow the government of Colombia and shared their hatred for Americans.

Viktor Bout arrived late Tuesday at Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, N.Y., before he was brought to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan to await an initial court appearance expected Wednesday afternoon. A news conference with federal prosecutors and officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration was to occur in late morning.

Bout, 43, a former Soviet military officer and air cargo executive, was flown from Bangkok, Thailand, to suburban New York on a chartered U.S. plane just four days before an extradition order would have expired, permitting him to be freed and returned home to his native Moscow.

Instead, he was taken in manacles and a bulletproof vest as Russian diplomats made a final outraged push to persuade Thailand to release him, according to current and former U.S. officials.