HomeNewsBriefGold-Plated AK-47 Found in Honduras
BRIEF

Gold-Plated AK-47 Found in Honduras

HONDURAS / 7 JAN 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

A gold-plated AK-47 rifle encrusted with diamonds and emeralds has been discovered among a large armory of weapons seized by Honduran police, perhaps indicating Mexican cartels are strengthening their presence in this Central American nation.

The weapon, valued at $50,000, was part of a cache of 32 pistols, 15 rifles, grenades and grenade launchers, seven bulletproof vests, and more than 500 rounds of ammunition found at an abandoned farm in northern Honduras over the weekend.

Government official Marlen Bengas told La Prensa that preliminary investigations suggested the weapons belonged to Mexican cartel the Zetas.

InSight Crime Analysis

Honduras is a key location in drug trafficking routes from South America to the United States, where Colombian cartels often hand their shipments onto their Mexican counterparts.

The discovery of such gaudy weaponry, something long associated with Mexican narco-culture, suggests Mexican cartels could be looking to build a permanent, armed presence inside the country, rather than rely solely on representatives working with local transport groups, or "transportistas."

Mexican gangs have been expanding their presence in Honduras for several years, with the Sinaloa Cartel one of the main organizations active here.

If the Honduran government's assertions are correct, it suggests the Zetas could be building a permanent base in the country. There have been previous reports of Zetas in the northern states of Ocotepeque, Copan, Colon and Atlantida, along Honduras' Atlantic coastline.  The Zetas' main power base in Central America has been Guatemala's northern Peten state.

Honduras' lax gun laws and weak state institutions have also helped make the country a major source of weapons for regional arms traffickers. In one indication of the flux of weapons entering Honduras, authorities have discovered high-power weaponry in the hands of local gangs. During a recent raid on a Barrio 18 safe house, police found a grenade launcher, an AK-47, and a M16 rifle amid the gang arsenal. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 5 JUL 2022

Why did drug trafficking enjoy such a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic…

MEXICO GROUPS / 4 MAY 2021

The Sinaloa Cartel is often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 7 MAR 2022

Authorities in Mexico recently seized an historic amount of high-powered weapons and ammunition in a northern border state, laying bare…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…