Under-The-Counter Guns

February 23, 2018 Crime , OPINION/NEWS , South America

Reuters photo



Ricardo Swire



Countering illegal gun smuggling in the Caribbean is very complex. CARICOM intelligence officials deliberate Brazil’s leaked Roraima State Police wiretap of two jailed Brazilian First Capital Command (PCC) gang members in Sao Paulo. Brazil’s biggest prison gang is funded by members called “brothers.” Originally named the “Party of Crime” each incarcerated PCC brother pays a monthly membership fee of US$27 or R$50. A member remunerates US$270 or R$500 if he is free. Such cash is used to buy guns, drugs and finance bail for PCC members on remand.


The Brazilian gang membership, symbolized by the Chinese “taititu” or “Yin Yang” symbol, requires an inductee to be introduced by a financial member. The oath to follow the PCC’s sixteen part statute is audibly recited. Under management of underworld characters “Geleiao” and “Cesinha” the PCC and another local gang, Comando Vermelho from Rio de Janeiro, formed a powerful alliance. Military Police personnel stationed in Sao Paulo became primary targets of armed attacks. The recent Roraima State Police wiretap electronically captured two jailed high ranking PCC members arranging the purchase of AK-47 and AR-15 semi automatic assault rifles from a Venezuelan supplier.


The Russian made AK-47 is Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) official firearm. In previous unauthorized exchanges outlawed paramilitary Colombian groups and Brazilian prison “Pranes” received similar weapons from rogue Venezuelan soldiers. A northern Roraima route along the shared border with Venezuela the main passage. Since Venezuela’s economic crisis and wave of social unrest or “Caracazo” guns and ammunition constantly move to the Caribbean’s Twin Island Republic sitting off its coast. The Gulf of Paria ten miles wide separates T&T from the south-western peninsula.


The severity of Venezuela’s economic chaos fuels “Megabandas” or organized criminal syndicates that prosper in the prisons and military. One hour away T&T’s unofficial firearm deliveries equip domestic street gangs and drug traffickers. On February 1, 2018 an AK-47 and surplus of 7.62 mm ammunition were intercepted by T&T Police Service Central Division Special Crime Unit officers. The discovery made by members of T&T Organized Crime & Intelligence Unit, K-9 and Longdenville Police, during one anti-crime operation in Dass Trace, Enterprise.


For the second time in seven days the Senior Superintendent’s team seized an AK-47, one magazine and seventy-seven 7.62mm cartridges. Circulating under-the-counter AR-15 assault rifles were initially imported by Venezuela’s government. In March 2016 nine El Valle men were killed during a shootout for control of a drug corridor, between one hundred and fifty gunmen armed with AR-15s. In 2017 Venezuela’s police Special Action Forces or Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales (FAES) were given an endowment of similar firearms.


On Friday February 16, 2018 internal security agents intercepted a rogue Venezuelan Judicial Police officer attempting to sell an AR-15 assault rifle to a nefarious criminal syndicate. Despite differences in calibre, or 7.62mm and 5.56mm, black-market AK-47s and AR-15s retail from US$5,000 to US$8,000 each. After the smuggled weaponry arrives in Brazil PCC bosses pay a maximum US$22,000 per assault rifle.





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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