About 1,000 guns and hundreds of explosives were seized in Argentina from an international criminal gang on Thursday, June 27. Authorities said that this is the biggest seizure of its kind in the history of Argentina.
In an operation assisted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, about 50 raids on homes, offices, and armories were conducted nationwide. Seventeen people were detained in the process.
Argentine officers have yet to announce the name the criminal gang involved.
“It was a very successful operation,” said Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich.
Bullrich congratulated everyone involved—the Argentine national police, for the 49 raids that were carried out, Argentine Federal Intelligence Agency, Argentine tax office, the Argentine Ministry of Defense, ALMAC, the Ministry of Security Investigation Unit, to everyone involved.
Argentine Security Secretary Eugenio Burzaco also expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Defense and all who were involved in the seizure.
The Argentine Ministry of Security stated that the weapons were trafficked from the United States and Europe into Argentina. The firearms were bought in Spain and the Netherlands and then shipped in containers to Argentina. Then the weaponry is transported by land into neighboring Brazil and Paraguay.
Bullrich said that the seizure is not only significant for Argentina. It is vital in combating violence in Paraguay and Brazil because drug dealers and the Brazilian cartels that run the drug-dealing business use these weapons, she stated.
The seized firearms included AK-47s, Browning machine guns, and over 30,000 bullets of assorted calibers.
Authorities also confiscated about US$170,000 worth of mines, night vision goggles, and a 20mm anti-aircraft gun.
U.S. Homeland Security affirmed in a statement that a criminal organization is smuggling huge number of firearm parts and accessories from the United States to Argentina and Brazil.