BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian police are investigating whether a shipment of guns and magazines originating from the United States that was seized by authorities late on Saturday was destined for Venezuela, a person familiar with the matter said.
Colombia’s tax and customs police (POLFA) said in a statement they seized six Anderson AM-15 rifles and seven magazines of 5.56 caliber ammunition after a truck was stopped at a police checkpoint in Magdalena province, which lies on the Caribbean coast.
The arms were found at the back of the truck’s container, hidden among used and dirty clothing, POLFA said.
The vehicle had set off from Colombia’s capital Bogota high in the Andes and was en route to Riohacha, the regional capital of the northeastern department of La Guajira, which borders Venezuela.
A male suspect is thought to have been waiting to receive the arms and police are investigating if the weaponry’s planned destination was Venezuela, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.
POLFA will work with Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to determine which organization is responsible for the arms shipment, the statement said.
POLFA has seized eight firearms so far this year and, in addition to the rifle magazines, 260 rounds of 0.30 caliber ammunition, it said. In 2020, it seized 11 firearms, as well as 300 weapon parts and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition.
Colombia’s tax and customs police have stepped up operations in 2021 to prevent arms trafficking, POLFA director Brigadier General Gustavo Franco said.
“We are taking a robust stand against criminality,” Franco said.
Reporting by Oliver Griffin; editing by Diane Craft