Prague - The Czech police have detained three men suspected of cooperating with terrorists who wanted to deal in drugs and weapons at the request by a U.S. court, the public broadcaster Czech Television (CT) said today.
The men were taken into custody, CT said.
According to the indictment from the USA, they wanted to trade in drugs and to sell arms valued at the equivalent of 160 million crowns to two agents who pretended to be Colombian terrorists, it added.
The USA has asked for their extradition, CT said.
The detectives arrested two alleged drug dealers from Ivory Coast and a man from Ukraine, who offered the weapons in the Sheraton Hotel in Prague.
If convicted of drug dealing, gun-running and money laundering, the three detained foreigners may be sentenced to at least ten years in prison in the USA.
They may be given life sentences for support for fictitious attacks on U.S. units.
The police action started three years ago when the Americans used two agents, masked as members of the Colombian FARC, to shadow the men from Ivory Coast, CT said.
The dealers were planning the transport of cocaine to the U.S., CT said. They claimed that for the gained money, they would be ready to buy weapons for attacks on U.S. units in Colombia from the two men, it added.
The man from Ukraine presented himself as a representative of the state-owned Ukrspetsexport, the only company in Ukraine that can sell weapons there.
The U.S. indictment says he was offering Kalashnikovs, mortars and anti-aircraft missiles to the dealers, CT said.
Czech authorities have cited the Czech-U.S. extradition treaty, it added.
However, lawyer Jan Svarc said the U.S. request was invalid.
"The arrest warrant must be issued in the state in which the crime occurred. The USA submitted an arrest warrant from a different state," he told CT.
According to the legislation of Ukraine, its citizens do not have the right to conclude any deals without the government's consent, Ukrainian consul Pavel Kovtun said.
"They have no right to sign any official documents or agreements," Pavel Kovtun told CT.