In a major sting operation spanning several cities, the US said that it had arrested 13 people for trying to buy surface-to-air missiles and other weapons in the black market for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) seen as a “dangerous terrorist group.” Counter terrorism officials say that the arrests occurred simultaneously in Buffalo in New York, Simsbury and San Jose in California, and Seattle in Washington and the plot broke after operatives vainly tried to procure classified intelligence by bribing State Department officials.
While most 13 Canadian and Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested, officials say that more arrests are in the offing. They say that these LTTE sympathizers wanted to buy 10 Russian made missiles and 500 AK-47 rifles. One of those arrested is an Indian born, but a naturalized US citizen, is an acknowledged supporter of LTTE. This individual ran a non-profit charity organization, Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, which is suspected of being an LTTE front.
A US Government spokesperson said that his country refuses to “allow the LTTE and its supporters to use the United States as a source of supply for weapons, technology, and financial resources.”