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More than 500 arrests made in raid against arms trafficking in eight Latin American countries

A raid against arms trafficking in eight Latin American countries ended with 560 arrests, including the detainment of a person suspected of providing weapons to Colombia’s National Liberation Army, Interpol announced Monday.

The operation involved police, customs, immigration and military agents from Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama.

Coordinated by Interpol, the operation, called “Trigger V,” took place from Feb. 22-28 and led to the seizure of 857 weapons, 40,000 bullets, 20 grenades, and police or military uniforms.

In a vehicle control site in Costa Rica, two AK47 assault rifles were discovered, one of which had been registered in the Interpol database by a Middle Eastern country — which, according to the agency, “shows the transcontinental nature of the arms trafficking.”

In Panama, an anonymous tip led police to an isolated warehouse that was full of ammunition, firearms and explosive materials.

Interpol, the police cooperation agency based in Lyon, France, highlighted the arrest of a man known as “Zeus the Monkey,” who is suspected of being at the forefront of an arms trade that supplies Colombia’s National Liberation Army, a guerrilla group.

The man was arrested when he tried to illegally travel from Guatemala to Honduras. He was handed over to Colombian authorities.

A Honduran who was the subject of an international arrest warrant was also detained.

Interpol added that among the 47 people detained in El Salvador, 18 are linked to gangs such as Barrio 18 and MS-13.

The general secretary of Interpol, Jürgen Stock, declared that the operation constituted “an important step for the dismantling of illicit networks and the protection of citizens.”

Featured photo: Massimiliano Mariani [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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