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Former DEA Chief calls prisoner exchanged for Brittney Griner one of the world’s ‘most dangerous men’

Former DEA Chief calls prisoner exchanged for Brittney Griner one of the world’s ‘most dangerous men’

Brittney Griner was released earlier this week in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout

The former Chief of Operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration has described the prisoner exchanged for Brittney Griner as ‘one of the world’s most dangerous men’.

Basketball star Griner was freed from Russian jail earlier this week as part of a negotiation deal signed off by US President Joe Biden.

The 32-year-old was released in exchange for Viktor Bout – a Russian arms dealer who President Vladimir Putin has been seeking to get back after he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the US.

Bout, who has always maintained his innocence, is a former Soviet military officer who has been dubbed ‘the merchant of death’

He was serving a 25-year sentence in the US on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Back in 2010, former DEA Chief Mike Braun, warned of the threat that Bout posed.

“Viktor Bout, in my eyes, is one of the most dangerous men on the face of the Earth,” he told CBS’ 60 Minutes, adding: “Without a doubt.”

Former DEA Chief Mike Braun.

He explained that Bout first exploded on the scene in war-torn West Africa in the late 1980s, elevating conflict from single shot rifles to ‘AK-47s, not by the thousands, but by the tens of thousands’.

“He transformed these adolescent warriors into insidious, mindless, maniacally driven killing machines that operated with assembly line efficiencies.”

When asked what specifically made him a threat to the US, Braun continued: “He is a shadow facilitator. He’s arming not only designated terrorist groups, insurgent groups, but he’s also arming very powerful drug trafficking cartels around the globe.”

Viktor Bout.
Zuma Press/Alamy Stock Photo

After arriving in Russia in February, Griner was jailed on drug charges after being convicted of possession of cannabis, despite saying the canisters had been packed by accident in her luggage, and that they had been prescribed to her to treat chronic pain.

The WNBA star has been behind bars for 10 months, having pleaded guilty during a trial in July, but claiming she had no criminal intent when she brought the cannabis oil into the country.

She was ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison at a Russian penal colony more than 200 miles east of Moscow, which she began serving last month.

Speaking last month of his plans to get the basketball star back in the US, Biden said: “I’m telling you, I am determined to get her home and get her home safely — along with others, I might add."

Featured Image Credit: 60 Minutes

Topics: World News