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A Scot is being hunted by the FBI for plotting to smuggle deadly sarin nerve gas to Iraq.

Fugitive Charles Caplan has been on the run for EIGHT years.

FBI agents believe he's somewhere in mainland Europe...

But they can't rule out the possibility that he could be back in Scotland.

Caplan, 55, is charged with attempting to smuggle 125 TONS of lethal sarin.

That would be enough to make about 1,000 bombs - each one capable of killing as many as 50,000 people.

But Caplan's pounds 4 million plot was thwarted in an elaborate seven-month sting operation by US customs officers.

An undercover agent posing as an arms supplier set up New Jersey-based dealer Juwhan Yun.

Caplan was snared when he asked Yun to supply the massive quantity of the killer chemical, which was believed to be destined for Iran or evil dictator Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

Yun and Caplan were said to have met to hammer out details of the deal. All this information was picked up by the customs man and the deal never went ahead.

The case caused panic in US military circles in 1991 when Saddam's tanks rolled into Kuwait and started the Gulf War.

It was feared the Iraqi tyrant may have managed to find the source of sarin.

Caplan - who was born in Prestwick, Ayrshire - holds both British and Israeli citizenship.

An established arms dealer, he was sentenced to nine months' jail in Britain for plotting to supply Libya with pistols and silencers worth pounds 9,000.

But Caplan has been in hiding since 1989. One US investigator told the Sunday Mail: "He will never return to America. And if he's in Britain, he knows he is likely to be extradited."

The FBI have now stepped up their hunt for the renegade Scot.

A "Wanted" poster bearing his photograph has been put on the worldwide internet.

It's believed Caplan has no remaining family ties in Scotland. His wife, Carol, is thought to be living in London.

Sarin is so deadly, a drop on the skin can kill. The Nazis tested it on concentration camp inmates.

Saddam Hussein used sarin nerve gas bombs to kill 5,000 Kurdish villagers in 1988.

In 1995, a Japanese religious cult released sarin in Matsumoto and the Tokyo underground.

The attacks killed 17 people and injured thousands more.
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Author:Findlay, Russell
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 26, 1997
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