One of three men facing extradition to the United States after allegedly plotting to buy Stinger missiles for the al-Qaeda terrorist network yesterday claimed he was the 'innocent victim' of an elaborate FBI sting. The alleged mastermind of the plot Ilyas Ali, 55, said he was a simple shopkeeper who knew nothing about 'guns, or drugs, or anything'. Ali and two Pakistani men were arrested on September 20 after the US indicted them on three charges of conspiracy to provide five tonnes of hashish and 590kg of heroin in exchange for four shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to be sold to the al-Qaeda terror network. Indian-born Ali, a delicatessen owner from St Paul, Minnesota, said the FBI set him up as 'the fall guy' in the wake of the political fallout of post-September 11. The FBI has firmly rejected any criticism of the investigation. The agency's executive assistant director, Charles S. Prouty, speaking in Hong Kong last week, said the case was an example of international co-operation in the war on terror. He refused to expand on any 'operational details'. Ali was unable to explain why a suburban greengrocer would be used as a middleman in a major drug-for-arms deal. 'I am not a terrorist. I don't know anything about drugs or guns,' Ali said in an interview with the South China Morning Post at Lai Chi Kok reception centre. 'I am a nickel and dime guy. I have been too busy trying to make a living, cutting meat and selling groceries.' Earlier this month Ali, Syed Saadat Ali Faraz, 54, and Muhammed Abid Afridi, 29, agreed to be extradited to San Diego to face trial in the US District Court. They were arrested in the Conrad Hotel on September 20.