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Friday, August 31, 2018

Paraguay’s police: 42 weapons stolen and replaced with toys

Por Jade

It might seem child's play ... but it is not. 42 assault rifles were stolen from a specialized police station in Paraguay and, instead, the authorities found toy replicas. During an inspection, the police discovered that large-caliber FN-FAL rifles had been replaced by wooden and plastic weapons. The investigation had been ordered after the arms began to appear for a year on the black market, where they can reach a value of up to US $ 10,000.

Paraguayan police are investigating the theft of 42 7.65mm FAL-type rifles from their dependencies and replacing them with toy replicas, said Monday, August 27, 2018, Interior Minister Ernesto Villamayor at a press conference. Several of the replicas are made of plastic and wood, compressed air and airsoft, according to the report. "We are working to determine when the disappearance of the weapons occurred," said the Minister after being received in audience by President Mario Abdo Benitez.

Villamayor described as "serious" the situation "since those weapons could go to the hands of international criminals". "There are also reports of (other) 90 missing handguns, between January and July of this year," said the Minister. The case was verified during an inventory at the Department of Arms and Ammunition. Although the stolen weaponry is considered as disused material, "they worked perfectly," said the official. The weapons were taken to a warehouse in the outskirts of Asunción from different parts of the country after being replaced by more modern equipment. Experts from the criminalistics department found after a technical inspection that they are imitations of weapons and in their report they remarked that "they do not have any type of firing mechanism".

"The armed levers cannot perform any maneuver for the readiness of the weapon," they stressed. A score of police officers commissioned in the department were summaries. The official admitted to his superiors that when he took control of the agency, last January, he signed the record of the amount deposited without verifying them, according to police sources. The missing weapons are Fal-type rifles, of Brazilian origin, which could be being marketed to Brazilian criminal groups at the border at a cost of approximately USD 10,000 per piece, according to the researchers' suspicions. The removal of weapons would have been systematic. After the discovery, the Paraguayan authorities ordered a general inventory of weapons both in the Police and in the Armed Forces. "It cannot be maintained as normal for a police officer to lose the weapon, and you have to be very careful with this type of question because it raises doubts about the fate of the weapons," said Villamayor, who took office this August.