Two youths of Tamil origin, Sathajhan Sarachandran and Nadarasa Yogarasa were sentenced by a federal court to 26 and 14 years in prison on Saturday for efforts to purchase advanced weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles for the LTTE.
The two were arrested on Long Island after engaging in negotiations with an undercover FBI agent to purchase and export arms worth $ 1 million including 20 SA-18 heat-seeking missiles, ten missile launchers, 500 AK-47s, and other military equipment for the Tamil Tigers, according to the Justice Department.
“The defendants were acting at the direction of senior LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka, including Pottu Amman, the LTTE chief of intelligence and procurement and the right-hand man of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakharan.
The LTTE intended to use the SA-18 missiles to shoot down Kfir aircraft used by the Sri Lankan military,” the statement said.
The Tamil duo pleaded guilty in January 2009 to attempt to provide material support to the LTTE and acquire guided surface-to-air missiles and missile launchers.
“The defendants attempted to use this district as a terrorist arms depot,” stated US Attorney Benton Campbell.
“The sentences handed down today send a clear message - we will use the full force of the law to stop terrorist organisations and their supporters in their tracks.”