Thursday, December 12, 2013

Global Impact: Greek National Indicted, Pleads Guilty to Providing Arms to FARC, To Be Sentenced in US

According to The Latin American Tribune, Greek citizen Ioannis Viglakis, AKA “Pablo,” pled guilty Tuesday (December 10) in a US District Court in Manhattan to provide material support to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a designated terrorist organization both in the US as well as in the EU.

Viglakis was arrested in Panama City, Panamá, in coordination with Panamanian authorities during August 2012. He waived extradition and was subsequently turned over to the custody of the US. Viglakis pled guilty before US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

According to the Indictment previously unsealed in this case, beginning in November 2011, Viglakis had a series of meetings with a DEA confidential source who represented himself to be an associate of the FARC. During those meetings, which took place in Europe and Central America, the source informed Viglakis that he was seeking weapons for use by the FARC to attack US forces in Colombia.

“This investigation clearly demonstrates DEA’s unique ability to disrupt and dismantle the arms-trafficking networks that supply weapons to the most significant global narco-terror organizations," said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

COMMENT: Viglakis offered to provide the FARC with functional, military-grade weapons including assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers and surface-to-air missiles, in exchange for cocaine and cash. During the meetings, Viglakis discussed the FARC’s use of these weapons to combat the Colombian and US governments, including by shooting down US aircraft in Colombia.

During the following months, Viglakis indicated that he would provide several RPG launchers as a sample. On July 18, 2012, Viglakis successfully arranged for the delivery in Europe of six live RPG rounds and three working RPG launchers, which were received by a DEA undercover agent.

“By providing functioning rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other military-grade weapons to an individual he believed to be a FARC associate, Ioannis Viglakis was attempting to arm a known terrorist organization that he understood would use those weapons against Americans and Colombians,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Viglakis, 53, pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to the FARC. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Forrest on April 11, 2014, at 1100 hours.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.