Bolivia busts gang running guns to Brazil

Bolivia busts gang running guns to Brazil 

Photograph showing the alleged members of a gang smuggling guns to Brazilian criminals presented during a press conference in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Aug 16, 2018. EPA-EFE/Juan Carlos Torrejon

La Paz, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- Bolivian police have dismantled a criminal gang made up of seven people smuggling guns into Brazil, Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero said Thursday.

The criminals and their cargo were presented to media by Romero and police Col. Igor Echegaray in the eastern city of Santa Cruz .

The minister said that officials had initially thought that the organization collected the weapons to «perpetrate robberies» in Santa Cruz, the minister said.

«However, an investigation conducted over the past few hours has established that the stockpiling of guns and ammo was mainly intended for external sale to Brazilian criminal by way of illegal markets,» he added.

According to the minister, the organization not only stole the weapons, but also bought it off a sergeant in the Bolivian army reserve.

Echegaray said that his men confiscated as many as 11 weapons, including pistols, revolvers and machine guns, as well as «anti-aircraft artillery.»

He also said that police investigations into this case are ongoing, highlighting the fact that some of the defendants «already have weapons-related criminal records.»