- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Two men from Turkey and Syria have been extradited to the United States to face international arms trafficking and drug charges, authorities announced Thursday.

The men could face life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S. and other charges, federal prosecutors said.

Authorities said their arrests stemmed from a sting operation carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The men, Memet Gezer, 49, of Turkey, and Saber Karimch, 50, of Syria, were held for an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court. It was not immediately clear who will represent them.

They were charged with conspiracy to sell large quantities of military-grade weaponry to individuals they believed were representatives of a Mexican drug trafficking organization.

They were arrested April 14 by Montenegrin authorities and were extradited from Montenegro to New York City on Thursday.

The case developed over the last year.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release that the arrest of two men from the Middle East highlighted the global nature and impact of the drug trade.

He said they “allegedly agreed to provide military-grade weapons, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, to help protect cocaine shipments headed for the United States.”


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