NEW YORK — U.S. prosecutors Monday accused seven men of trying to sell weapons and smuggle drugs to people they believed were Taliban militants.
In meetings in Benin, Romania, Ghana, and Ukraine, the men agreed to transport and sell heroin for informants posing as Taliban, and to sell them surface-to-air missiles for use in Afghanistan, authorities said.
Five of the men were arrested in Liberia on Thursday and Friday and were due to be extradited to the United States to face the charges in federal court in New York City.
Maroun Saade, Walid Nasr, Corneille Dato, Martin Raouf Bouraima and Francis Sourou Ahissou face charges of conspiracy to engage in narco-terrorism and other drug charges.
Two U.S. citizens — Oded Orbach and Almar Pouryan — were arrested in Romania and await extradition.
Orbach, Saade, Nasr, and Pouryan also face charges of providing material support to the Taliban, which is deemed a terrorist group by the United States.
Some of the men also attempted to sell cocaine to the informants posing as Taliban militants, authorities said.
"This alleged effort to arm and enrich the Taliban is the latest example of the dangers of an interconnected world in which terrorists and drug runners can link up across continents to harm Americans," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
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