Background of the Trial
Victor Bout and Richard Chichakli were engaged in the trafficking of weapons throughout the global arena. Bout and Chichakli collectively merged drug cartels with various terrorists. Bout, a former military officer from Soviet Republic, was arrested, tried, and found guilty. Consequently, Bout was jailed for 25 years for conspiring to sell weapons worth millions of dollars to a Columbian revolutionary group. After the arrest and conviction of Bout, Chichakli, who was Bout accomplice, was still at large. After a series of criminal activities, Chichakli, a dual Syrian-US citizen, was arrested on January 13, 2013 for being the not only the money man but also a ‘facilitator’ of the illegal deals revolving around the selling of weapons.
The criminal activity that Bout and Chichakli engaged in, which led to their arrest included shipping of dangerous weapons such as guns besides conducting illicit businesses within the global arena. However, when charged with being an accomplice, facilitator, and money man for Bout’s shipping of weapons and conducting illicit businesses, Chichakli opposed the prosecutor’s allegations terming them as nothing but lies. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s administrator, Michele Leonhart affirmed that Chichakli was a close associate to Bout throughout the shipping of weapons and illicit businesses across the world. DEA believed that Chichakli was involved in not only the operations but also financing the network.
Based on Chichakli’s involvement in Bout’s illicit businesses and shipping of weapons, it was difficult to identify specific charges against him (Chichakli). DEA attempted to prove that Chichakli should be charged with attempt to buy two aircrafts from various American companies for the purposes of enabling Bout to ship the dangerous weapons as well as carry out illicit businesses. DEA also confirmed that Chichakli was also involved in money laundering besides other criminal activities such as wire fraud conspiracy. All these charges against Chichakli amount to nine counts; each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. This means that if found guilty, Chichakli is likely to be jailed for a period of 180 years.
According to the above case, it is clear that Chichakli and Bout were involved in serious criminal activities. Shipping dangerous weapons across the globe and conducting illicit businesses amount to serious criminal activities. According to the above case, it is evident that Chichakli and Bout are guilty as charged. Even though Bout has been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, there is enough evidence indicting him to other charges hence calling for more punishments in respect to imprisonment. On the other perspective, Chichakli may be considered to be guilty of the charges placed on him by the DEA. DEA has enough evidence incriminating Chichakli to the nine counts revolving around the shipping of weapons and conducting illicit businesses.
Chichakli has not been convicted given that the court proceedings are still on and DEA aims at proving that he (Chichakli) is guilty. The defence attorney has not provided adequate arguments that are vindicating Chichakli from the charges. In addition, DEA is trying all the possible ways of providing that Chichakli is guilty of the charges against him. Indeed, this case is very important in understanding how criminal activities are investigated. It is important for both the prosecutor and defence to perform adequate investigations to prove their points. Whereas the defence needs to prove the innocence of Chichakli, the prosecutor needs to prove that the accused is guilty on the basis of the charges.
Ferran Lee & Ryan Jason. “Feds: American ‘Merchant of Death’ Money man arrested,” ABC News, last modified January 13, 2013, http://news.yahoo.com/feds-american-merchant-death-money-man-arrested-173455062--abc-news-topstories.html.
Siegel, Larry. Introduction to criminal justice. New York: South-Western Cengage Learning,, 2009.