Viktor Bout is a Russian arms dealer who was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a designated terrorist organization. He was extradited to the United States in 2010 and was subsequently convicted in a U.S. court on charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens, among other offenses. He was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States. Bout has been described as one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers, and his activities have been widely criticized by governments and human rights organizations.
The Biden administration decided to swap Bout for Brittney Griner, a WNBA player for the Phoenix Mercury who has been in a Russian prison since her arrest for illegal substances while in Russia got her handed a 9-year prison sentence just over 210 miles from Moscow since her arrest earlier this year.
Bout’s prolific career as a Russian arms dealer helped to exacerbate many wars, including wars that should’ve been small-scale African civil wars, until Bout was able to sell military-style equipment and weaponry to the small armies. He has been the subject of several movies and television shows. The most notable of these is the 2005 film “Lord of War,” which is loosely based on Bout’s life and career. The movie, which stars Nicolas Cage, was a commercial and critical success and helped to increase public awareness of Bout’s activities. In addition to “Lord of War,” Bout has also been featured in several other movies and television shows, including the documentary “The Notorious Mr. Bout” and the TV series “Dangerous Business.”
Now, at the age of just 55 years old, the Biden administration has released Bout, and he will be back in Russia to potentially commit more of the same crimes he did before his arrest in 2008.
When asked about what he’ll do now that he’s been freed he responded:
“It’s too soon to ask those questions, let’s not talk about it,”
(R- Calif) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy commented on the prisoner swap the Biden administration made, saying:
“This is a big win for Putin, by far,” adding, “He left a Marine behind… It’s not an equal exchange.”