Former Military General accused guilty in LTTE arms supply -
(By Walter Jayawardhana)
A former Indonesian military General, Erick Wotulo
(59), pleaded guilty in the United States Federal court in Baltimore to
the charges of money laundering and conspiring to supply sophisticated
arms to the proscribed Sri Lankan terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Wotulo faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison
for conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist group and a
maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for money laundering. U.S.
District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled sentencing for May 25.
In this case it was alleged Wotulo and other were
conspiring to supply the Sri Lankan terrorist group, the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam also known as the Tamil Tigers with the state of
the art firearms, machine guns and ammunition , surface to air missiles,
and night vision goggles to fight the Sri Lankan government.
The alleged conspirators in this case were dealing
with a fictitious company set up by the FBI in Maryland about the
purchasing of military weapons.
Wotulo helped acquire and arranged the proposed
delivery to the Tamil Tigers. Wotulo was ensnared in Guam when he went
there to transact the business and meet other conspirators and FBI
agents posing as arms dealers. He was accused of paying hundreds of
thousand dollars of LTTE money to ship high tech weapons restricted by
law to the Sri Lankan rebels and Indonesian army.
In a an elaborate sting operation Federal undercover
agents put up a Singapore Arms broker in an inner harbor hotel in
Baltimore and took him to a camouflaged Police shooting range in the
nearby Harford Country to test fire the weapons he was planning to buy .
The 59 year old retired Indonesian General pleaded
guilty to the charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a
designated foreign terrorist organization and money laundering.
Before this two other Indonesians accused in the case
have pleaded guilty. The Acting special agent in charge of the Baltimore
office of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement James Denkins said,
"This case demonstrates the real threat posed by international arms
trafficking and money laundering. Criminals or terrorists can wire funds
anywhere in the world in an effort to further their illegal activity,
often with no questions asked."
According to the plea agreement revealed in the courts
Wotulo conspired with the others beginning in April last year to supply
the weapons to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka to seek a separate state
The prosecutors in the case said that Wotulo helped
his associates, to acquire military technology for the Tamil Tigers
requesting prices, negotiating purchases and providing details of ocean
routes for the transfer of the arms to the Tamil group in Sri Lanka.
According to the prosecution he also contacted the
undercover business in Maryland on June 5 last year and said he and his
colleagues wanted to buy weapons. Wotulo said that the Chief of the
Tamil Tigers requested that he and another co-defendant travel to
Baltimore to arrange weapons purchases.
On September 29 Wotulo arrived in Guam to meet
everybody to discuss the shipboard loading of the arms and the munitions
destined for the Tamil Tigers. It was in Guam where he and the five
others were arrested by US agents.