Firearm Tracing

February 5, 2019 Crime , OTHER

Reuters photo



Ricardo Swire



Since Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia signed the Organization of American States’ (OAS) “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America & the Caribbean” security initiative in June 2011 and joined the Bahamas, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Paraguay, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Uruguay, illegal firearm detections and confiscations have not interrupted the flow of lethal firepower traversing the tropical region.


The seven year old American financed initiative pledged training and equipment to facilitate speedier gun tracing in the region. Firearms and ammunition are vital to the success and profitability of drug operations especially production and trafficking elements. The guns and ordinance protect traffickers and consignments. Patterns showed illegal high velocity weaponry is the favorite among narco-terrorists.


One CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime & Security report, regarding “Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the Caribbean,” identified three levels of SALW excesses in the region. Jamaica was among “countries with high levels and patterns of armed crime.” Internal security data records one historic case in which ten tons of firearms, valued JA$8 million or US$59,902, were intercepted as the consignment transited Jamaica before onward travel to the consignee in Colombia.


German company Heckler & Koch (H&K) dispatched the transiting two hundred and fifty HK21 machine guns, one thousand G3A3 automatic assault rifles, ten sixty millimeter commando mortars and six hundred associated high explosive shells. In 2017 Jamaica’s government provided national security officials with the IBIS Bulletrax-3D System. The technology takes digital pictures of a bullet’s surface and compares them to similarities contained in the US Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms’ (ATF) eTrace database.


Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago were listed, in the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime & Security report as “emerging high levels of armed and organized criminality.” Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines were labeled “countries with indications of increased use and availability of small arms.” Smuggled guns are often sourced from South and Central American manufacturers.


Several Brazilian suppliers are licensed with popular companies such as Beretta, Colt and Taurus. Venezuelan factories accommodate production of Smith & Wesson. Such brands make products for domestic sale, ostensibly government and licensed private gun owners plus exports. To realistically prevent re-use of guns in crimes the firearms would have to be traceable. Such accountability requires application of specific procedures for acquisition, etching and licensing at the point of origin.





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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