INDONESIAN GENERAL SENT TO JAIL FOR 30 MONTHS FOR ATTEMPTING TO SELL WEAPONS TO LTTE TERRORISTS
By Walter Jayawardhana
The Indonesian Marine Corps General, Eric Wotulo (61) who was charged
being the mastermind behind an attempt to smuggle hundreds of thousand
dollars worth of weapons for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment by US District Judge Catherine
The man charged for the orchestrating of smuggling of high tech weapons
for the US banned terrorist group in Baltimore USA will be deported
back to his country after serving the federal jail term according to
the judgment , FBI sources said.
The FBI conducted a three year long investigation and a dramatic sting
operation using undercover agents contacting a Singapore based arms
broker renting a room in Baltimores four star Inner Harbor Hotel
to conduct the undercover operation. The FBI arrange for him to attend
religious services at a Sunni Muslim mosque in a town called Laurel
in Pennsylvania and even invited him to test fire the intended guns
at a camouflaged police firing range in Harford County. In all times
FBI agents posed as weapons dealers.
The ruse by the FBI tricked the LTTE who are also known as the Tamil
Tigers to transfer US$ 700,000 to the purported arms dealers , who were
actually the FBI undercover agents, as a down payment for millions of
dollars worth of sniper rifles, submachine guns, night vision goggles
, grenade launchers and other military grade hardware. The buyers were
also interested in buying unmanned air vehicles mostly used for reconnaissance
purposes and surface to air missiles.
The charges in the case said Wotulo and others conspired in the year
2006 to export the restricted material on behalf of the LTTE, a foreign
terrorist group banned since 1997. They cannot either raise money or
buy arms in the United States.
"Terrorists must not be permitted to use the United States as
a source of funding or equipment," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J.
Rosenstein said in a statement after the sentencing. "We will continue
to utilize all possible means to prevent terrorism, including undercover
operations targeting people who attempt to obtain munitions in violation
of our laws."
Central to the plan to acquire arms and munitions for the Tamil Tigers was the Aug. 2, 2006, transfer of $250,000 into a bank account in Maryland, prosecutors said. The next month, they said, two of Wotulo's associates, Haniffa Bin Osman and Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, arrived in Saipan to meet with undercover officers and inspect the weapons that had been ordered for the Tamil Tigers.
An additional $452,000 payment for the weapons was made on Sept. 28, 2006, prosecutors said. The next day, Varatharasa, Wotulo and Bin Osman met with undercover officers in Guam and were arrested.
Another associate, Haji Subandi, 71, a citizen of Indonesia, was sentenced in December to 37 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy, as well as for two counts of money laundering and attempted exportation of arms and munitions. Varatharasa, 36, who is Sri Lankan, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for conspiracy and attempted arms exportation. Bin Osman, 55, from Singapore is scheduled to be sentenced in August on conspiracy and money laundering charges.
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