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Lithuania Detains Alleged Russian Arms Dealer on US Request

RIA Novosti

15:46 23/05/2013

VILNIUS, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – The Lithuanian security services have arrested a Russian national at the request of the US Justice Department, which suspects him of smuggling export-restricted military equipment, the Delfi news portal reported on Thursday.

Dmitry Ustinov, 46, was detained over a month ago at Vilnius airport in Lithuania, after he arrived from the United States to allegedly negotiate a sales deal for night vision equipment used by the US military, Delfi said.

Alexander Mamayev, the head of the Russian Embassy's consulate department, said Moscow had been already informed about Ustinov's detention and the embassy was assisting him.

"Ustinov was detained over a month ago," Mamayev told RIA Novosti. "Our [embassy] representatives visited him in detention as requested and gave recommendations on defense attorneys."

Ustinov, whose detention was based on an arrest warrant from the US state of Delaware, introduced himself to embassy representatives as an owner of weapons store in Moscow, Mamayev added.

Delfi said the US special services established that in 2010 Ustinov wrote an e-mail to a co-conspirator asking to buy him night vision equipment.

Between July 2010 and October 2012, Ustinov acquired and later sold at least 13 items of military-oriented night vision equipment including PVS-14 sights after smuggling them out of the United States, the portal reported.

Ustinov is currently being held at Lukiskes Prison in downtown Vilnius. The country's Prosecutor General's Office is waiting for an extradition request from the United States, which a court will consider later.

If convicted in the United States, where he is accused of illegal arms sales and smuggling as well as money laundering, Ustinov faces at least 20 years in prison.

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