NEW YORK – A Manhattan jury convicted a wealthy arms dealer Thursday of conspiring to sell weapons to informants who supposedly were supplying terrorists willing to kill Americans.
U.S. prosecutors said Syrian-born Monzer al-Kassar and a co-defendant, Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, conspired over a four-month period last year to try to sell millions of dollars worth of heavy weaponry to Colombian militants.
The defense said the men were actually sleuthing on behalf of Spanish intelligence operators. Assistant U.S. Attorney Boyd Johnson said greed was their chief motivation.
U.S. authorities said al-Kassar was willing to sell surface-to-air missile systems, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, thousands of machine guns and millions of rounds of ammunition to Colombian rebels.
The charges included conspiracy to provide aid and equipment to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to kill United States nationals.
The men face up to life in prison when they are sentenced on Feb. 18.
An indictment unsealed last year said al-Kassar had provided military equipment to violent factions in Nicaragua, Brazil, Cyprus, Bosnia, Croatia, Somalia, Iran and Iraq.