Illegal Weapons Dealers and Narco-Terrorists

August 2, 2017 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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By

Ricardo Swire

 

The illegal gun trafficking industry is an international marvel. Guns, ammunition and explosives represent big business. In the underworld black market weaponry make up a phenomenal market, an environment where criminal elements capitalize on a country’s political and internal security voids to make money and destabilize law and order. Shady masters of the gun game travel far and wide smuggling and distributing banned firearms for cold hard cash, smooth operators staying one step ahead of law enforcement and business rivals.

One US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Operations Division mission against “narco-terrorism” focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean. On Thursday July 25, 2017 an illustrious Ivory Coast firearms dealer known as “Excellence” was prosecuted on US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) charges. From 2012 to 2014 the sixty-one year old Ivory Coast national conspired to supply Colombia’s FARC rebels with “material support.”

FARC has a track record of violence against the Colombian government. The guerrilla group also conducted acts of aggression against American citizens and is officially labelled a terrorist organization. FARC was once rated the world’s largest cocaine supplier. Excellence attended meetings in Accra, Ghana and Warsaw, Poland with US Drug Enforcement Administration Confidential Sources (Css) posing as FARC representatives. The Css made secret digital audio recordings that captured introductions to two of Excellence’s collaborators.

One individual was a weapons trafficker based in Ukraine, the other a drugs smuggler headquartered in West Africa. DEA recordings also described the Ivory Coast trafficker’s offer to procure weapons for FARC. The underworld character additionally offered to transport and warehouse FARC’s West African cocaine consignments. His network could launder the revenue, via select New York bank accounts, as part of provided logistical support.

Buyer and seller settled on a US$8million package comprised of surface-to-air missiles, assault rifles, both grenades and grenade-launchers. The weapons cache was for FARC’s use against US law enforcement and military personnel deployed in Colombia. On April 5, 2014 Excellence flew to the Czech Republic to meet the undercover DEA Special Operations Division Css and finalize the FARC deal. He was detained by Czech National Police Service officers assigned to Prague, on a US request for his arrest and extradition.

The scene was a replay of nine years ago when DEA Special Operations Division agents coordinated the arrest of Thailand’s “Merchant of Death.” The Thai arms trafficker also conspired to sell weaponry to FARC members. Three years ago a forty-three year old male Romanian gun trafficker was also interdicted by US Federal agents for his effort to supply the FARC. From 2012 to 2014 the Romanian illegal gun dealer travelled to Albania, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy and Montenegro in South-eastern Europe at a cost of US$7,000 to coordinate a FARC order.

In his deal-making sojourns the Romanian gun trafficker made an alliance with a local female government employee, a former Italian Member of Parliament and a Russian firearms supplier. He affirmed a connection in Germany to produce bogus documentation. The FARC wanted AK-47 assault rifles, M-4 Carbines, Dragunov sniper rifles, anti-personnel mines and FN509 pistols. By rule international weapons factories require documents that verify a legitimate purchaser, hence the need for the German co-conspirator.

In 2014 the American citizen through marriage and a co-conspirator were both arrested by DEA agents in Montenegro, South-eastern Europe. The Romanian gun trafficker flown to New York. An Italian politician and a Romanian government employee confessed to supporting the illegal gun trafficker’s FARC scheme. In Romania the gun trafficker fronted as a Security Consultant who provided body-guards and logistical services.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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