Four men, two of them active soldiers, were arrested on Wednesday after being accused of trading arms stolen from the army’s Third Brigade in Cali with the city’s criminal gangs.
The detainees, who are supposedly responsible for the disappearance of around 400 weapons held in an evidence room of the army’s Third Brigade in Cali over the past four years, are two active and one retired non-commissioned officers, and one civilian.
“Among those arrested is a sergeant first class and a first corporal, who were working as the guards for the evidence room,” stated the commander of the army’s Third Brigade, General Luis Fernando Rojas.
According to the authorities, the men were part of Cali’s so-called “arms carousel,” smuggling out firearms that were being held as evidence to later sell them off to criminal organizations involved in contract killings within the Valle del Cauca State capital.
The arrested join a woman who was caught red-handed last August whilst she tried to smuggle seven handguns out of the front door of the same establishment.
News broadcaster Noticiero 90 minutos states that the investigation started 3 years ago, with the situation escalating when of the decommissioned arms was used in the massacre of eight people in the Cali nightclub “La Barra de la 44”.
The Technical Investigative Body (CTI) of the Attorney General’s Office and the armed forces’ Anti-kidnapping and Anti-extortion group carried out the arrests.
The suspects will be held in the custody of the Third Brigade while the Attorney General’s Office make an inventory of the recovered weapons which include at least 50 AK-47s – arms that are often used in street murders.
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