The Man Who Captures Criminals for the D.E.A. by Playing Them

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  1. Disir
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    Disir Gold Member

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    On the afternoon of February 9, 2011, in a suite at the City Hotel in Bucharest, two men, hoping to sell a stash of Russian military-grade weapons on the black market, met with an ebullient businessman in his sixties named Yianni. A short man with a neatly trimmed beard and a bulging midriff, Yianni was, the men had learned, a financier entrusted by the Taliban to buy armaments. As is advisable when broaching the sale of millions of dollars’ worth of illicit goods, the men—a thirtysomething Iranian-American who once worked as a translator for the U.S. Army and a Chicago-based Israeli-American in his mid-fifties—began their negotiations with caution. But after several meetings they were reassured by Yianni’s confident manner and social ease.

    The men had put together a list of weapons they could supply, including fim-92 Stingers, Javelins, and M47 Dragon missiles. At the hotel, Yianni, who spoke with a thick Greek accent, greeted them warmly. He had ordered some hot appetizers and began laying out plates and silverware on the coffee table. The Iranian-American got up to help, but Yianni waved him away: “Let me play Mama, all right?” In the next hour, the two parties settled on a price of three million dollars for the first cache, which Yianni wanted delivered to the port of Constanta, in the Black Sea. The Taliban needed the weapons urgently, he explained, to safeguard its heroin labs against American forces.

    The next day, at around noon, the men met again. “You look sharp today,” Yianni said to the Israeli-American, and then explained that an advance of two hundred and fifty thousand euros was on its way. They discussed ammunition, specialists they would hire to train the Taliban in the use of the weapons, and banks to which the main deposit would be transferred. Yianni reassured the men that the BlackBerry he had given them was secure. “No, I trust you one hundred per cent,” the Iranian-American said. When Yianni’s cell phone rang, he answered: “Listen, leave the bag in the back seat, all right?” The men walked out of the suite to collect the cash.

    In the hallway, they were met by a dozen Romanian policemen, their guns drawn. The men later learned, in court, that Yianni, whose real name is Spyros Enotiades, was a confidential source for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and that their meetings in the suite had been recorded and monitored. In 2013, the men were convicted in a U.S. federal court, each receiving a twenty-five-year prison sentence.

    The Man Who Captures Criminals for the D.E.A. by Playing Them

    That is an interesting guy.
     
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