Identity of Informant in Viktor Bout Case Revealed; He Had a Long, Lucrative Career and Made $9 Million-Plus

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By Danny Fenster

After earning more than $9 million over the course of 15 years as one of the government’s highest paid informants in history, Carlos Sagastume unveiled his identity at the New York  trial of international arms dealer Viktor Bout, reports the Associated Press.

Bout’s month-long trial ended in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday when he was convicted of conspiracy charges, leaving him facing a potential life sentence.

Sagastume posed as a member of the Columbian guerrilla terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), coaxing Bout to travel from Russia to Thailand in March of 2008. The trip was supposed to be an opportunity for the twoto  arrange for weapons to be sent to Colombian rebels fighting American forces.

Most of Sagastume’s money was made working for the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program, where he made $7.5 million in two rewards through the DEA. He made another $1.6 million spread across 150 investigations. The work with Bout brought him $250,000.

“One would think that one’s cover would be blown much earlier,” Myrna S. Raeder, a Southwestern Law School professor, told the AP. “This sounds like fodder for a movie with that kind of background.”

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