New York - A Romanian national and weapons trafficker, convicted of conspiring to kill officers and employees of the U.S. government, and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, was returned to his home country Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers. This is following a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Montenegrin National Police, and Romanian law enforcement authorities, which led to a guilty plea and subsequent sentencing.
ERO deportation officers escorted Cristian Vintila, 47, to Romania via a commercial flight. Vintila was transferred to the custody of Romanian law enforcement authorities upon arrival in Bucharest.
In December 2014, Vintila was arrested in Montenegro by Montenegrin authorities after conspiring with two former European officials to sell $15 million worth of weapons to undercover informants posing as Colombian rebels. Vintila was indicted in U.S. District Court-Southern District of New York (SDNY) and subsequently transported to the U.S. to stand trial. On Feb. 9, 2018, Vintila was convicted in SDNY of conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the U.S., and conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. He was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment. Vintila was transferred to ICE custody in June 2018, while the agency finalized his return to his home country.
“Returning individuals like Vintila continues to be among ICE’s highest priorities,” said Thomas Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “One of the best uses of agency resources is to ensure individuals are returned to their home countries once they have faced justice and served time for their crimes.”
According to court records, between June 2013 and May 2017, Vintila conspired to provide weapons, financial services, expert advice and services to the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a foreign terrorist organization, that would be used to kill American citizens.