Seven years after he was arrested by the RCMP in Toronto, a Canadian man has pleaded guilty in New York to conspiring to buy anti-aircraft missiles for Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers.
Piratheepan Nadarajah, 37, is to be sentenced on Jan. 31 after the U.S. District Court accepted his guilty pleas on two counts related to his work as an arms supplier for the LTTE.
Three other Canadians are already serving sentences of at least 25 years for their roles in the same procurement network that was caught trying to buy $1-million worth of missiles in Long Island, N.Y.
The anti-aircraft weapons were to be used by the LTTE to shoot down Kfir aircraft used by the Sri Lankan military.
They had also negotiated to buy 500 AK-47 assault rifles, unaware they had walked into a sting operation and that the FBI was recording their conversations with an undercover informant who was posing as an arms dealer.
“Nadarajah and his associates attempted to acquire these weapons at the direction of senior LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka,” the FBI said in a statement. “The anti-aircraft weapons were to be used by the LTTE to shoot down Kfir aircraft used by the Sri Lankan military.”
Nadarajah’s 2006 arrest followed a joint RCMP-FBI investigation into North American supporters — many of them Canadians of Sri Lankan origin — who were helping finance and rearm the Tamil rebels.
Also known as “Nada,” Nadarajah was born in Sri Lanka and later lived in Brampton, Ont. He has been called the technical expert of the group. The U.S. said he was a Tamil Tigers “operative,” reported the National Post.