Two in US plead innocent to conspiring with FARC

Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:50pm EDT

NEW YORK Oct 18 (Reuters) - Two men accused of conspiring to supply Colombian rebels with millions of dollars of weapons including surface-to-air missiles pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges on Thursday.

Tareq Mousa al Ghazi of Lebanon and Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy of Marbella, Spain, pleaded innocent in federal court in Manhattan after being extradited from Romania earlier this week.

Ghazi, 60 and Moreno Godoy, 58, were arrested in Bucharest, Romania, in June on suspicion of working with accused Syrian arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar, also of Marbella, to provide weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Both men face charges of conspiring to kill Americans officers, conspiring to acquire anti-aircraft missiles and providing support to a terrorist organization. The indictment said they knew FARC kidnapped U.S. citizens to dissuade American efforts to disrupt the cocaine trade.

If convicted, both face maximum sentences of life in prison.

The indictment says all three men met with two confidential sources working for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2006 and 2007 and promised to supply weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, to attack U.S. forces in Colombia.

The United States is seeking the extradition from Spain of Kassar, the central figure in the case who was arrested in Madrid. Authorities say he has armed militants from Iraq to Nicaragua for decades.

Prosecutors said in court on Thursday that Kassar could arrive in New York within a month.

The United States considers FARC a terrorist organization.





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