US jails Tiger arms dealers
Lankan, Singaporean, two Indonesians convicted:
US: Federal prosecutors in Baltimore say a Singaporean man was
sentenced to three years for his part in buying missiles and guns for
Sri Lankan terrorists.
On Thursday, 57-year-old Haniffa Bin Osman was sentenced for buying
surface-to-air missiles, night vision devices, machine guns and other
Osman pleaded guilty to a conspiracy in 2006 with three other men to
buy the weaponry and military equipment for the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, age 38, a citizen of Sri Lanka, pleaded
guilty and was sentenced to 57 months in prison for the conspiracy and
attempted arms exportation.
Haji Subandi, age 71, a citizen of the Republic of Indonesia, pleaded
guilty and was sentenced to 37 months in prison for conspiracy to
provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, money
laundering and attempted exportation of arms and munitions.
Erick Wotulo, age 60, a citizen of Indonesia, and a retired
Indonesian Marine Corps General, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30
months in prison for the conspiracy and money laundering.
Prosecutors say the men were also trying to set up a second purchase
of weapons, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles which could have
totalled $15 million.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Osman, a citizen of
the Republic of Singapore, to 37 months in prison followed by three
years of supervised release for conspiracy to provide material support
to a designated foreign terrorist organization and money laundering,
announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J.
Rosenstein said: “Bin Osman conspired with others to provide material
support to the Tigers and attempted to illegally export arms, including
state of the art firearms, grenade launchers, night vision devices,
surface to air missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
We will use all available legal tools to prevent terrorism, including
undercover operations targeting people who attempt to obtain military
weapons in violation of American law.”
According to the plea agreement, from April to September 29, 2006
Osman conspired with Haji Subandi, Erick Wotulo and Thirunavukarasu
Varatharasa to provide state-of-the-art firearms, machine guns and
ammunition, surface to air missiles, night vision goggles and other
military weapons to the LTTE operating within Sri Lanka, to be used to
fight against Sri Lankan Government Forces.
The conspirators contacted an undercover business in Maryland about
the sale of military weapons, requesting price quotes and negotiating
the purchases. Subandi sent an itemized list of 53 military weapons,
including sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers that he
wanted to acquire for the Tigers.
Subandi advised the undercover business that Osman would inspect the
weapons for the Tigers. Wotulo also advised that the chief of Tigers
requested that he and Osman travel to Baltimore to meet with the
In July 2006, Osman met with undercover agents in Baltimore and
stated that the weapons were for the Tigers. Osman said that he was not
a Tiger member but was helping them obtain weapons. The agents showed
Osman a number of weapons, ammunition and night vision devices.
While in Baltimore, Osman discussed the illegality of the transfer of
the arms to the Tigers and provided navigational coordinates for a
delivery in the Indian Ocean. Osman stated that if the first transfer of
the weapons were successful, the second order could be worth as much as
Osman also inquired about pricing for unmanned aerial vehicles, and
test-fired several weapons, including machine guns and sniper rifles.
Osman discussed the commission he would receive for the arms sale and
stated that Varatharasa would inspect the weapons and travel on the boat
which was to carry the weaponry to the delivery point.
He also raised the possibility that members of the Sea Tigers, the
Marine Unit of the Tigers, would also escort the weapons to their final
US Department of Justice