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U.S. citizen sentenced for conspiring to funnel weapons to Taliban

Sept. 26, 2013 at 8:48 AM

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A federal judge sentenced a U.S. citizen to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell weapons to the Taliban, the U.S. attorney's office in New York said.

The prison sentence for Alwar Pouryan Wednesday came a month after he and a co-defendant were found guilty in a bench trial by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, CNN reported.

"Alwar Pouryan was an American who was all too willing to do business with the Taliban -- agreeing to provide that narco-terrorist organization with lethal, military-grade weapons that would have put countless innocent lives at risk," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Bahara's office said Pouryan, 38, and co-conspirator Oded Orbach began communicating in fall 2010 with a person they thought represented the Taliban but actually worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In conversations and in-person meetings in Ghana, Ukraine and Romania, Pouryan and Orbach offered specifics about what types of arms they would sell and their price.

The weapons discussed included anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers M-16 assault rifles and ammunition. Pouryan and Orbach were told surface-to-air missiles were especially needed to protect Taliban-run heroin facilities in Afghanistan from U.S. helicopter attacks, the federal prosecutor's office said.

Five other men tied to the plot were arrested in Liberia and also brought to the United States, CNN said.

Orbach, 55, is being held in New York, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said, and will be sentenced Nov. 1.

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