Men charged in US and Canada over alleged plot to arm Tamil Tigers

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Numerous men have been charged in Canada and the United States with various crimes related to a plot to arm the Tamil Tigers who are listed as a terrorist organization in both countries. Some are accused of plotting to buy surface-to-air missiles and AK-47 rifles that would have been sent to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Eight people, including three Canadian citizens, were charged in Brooklyn, New York yesterday with various offences. At the same time the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested a 26-year-old in Ontario in relation to the plot. He faces extradition to the United States.

Charges against the nine include fundraising and money laundering through US bank accounts and charitable organizations for the Liberation Tigers of Talim Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting the Sri Lankan military in a civil war since 1983.

Two of the men allegedly tried to bribe undercover US State Department officials with $1 million in order to remove the Tigers from the official list of terrorist organizations which bars the group from raising money, obtaining weapons or lobbying. A more extensive investigation ensued involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The RCMP was brought in when the FBI learned of a Canadian allegedly being involved. Ultimately, the three Canadians arrested in the United States are accused of traveling to New York to purchase the military equipment including 50 to 100 SAM missiles, assault rifles, truck mounted missiles, aerial vehicles for jamming radio transmissions and radar, submarine design software as well as flight lessons and military training.