HomeNewsBriefSalvadoran Ex-Colonel Charged with Illegal Gun Sales
BRIEF

Salvadoran Ex-Colonel Charged with Illegal Gun Sales

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 1 OCT 2012 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Salvadoran prosecutors have accused a retired army coronel once in charge of its weapons stockpile of illegally selling arms, the latest such charge against the country’s military.

An investigation by the Prosecutor General's organized crime unit found that retired Colonel Alberto Gonzalez Quezada sold two semi-automatic rifles to people who did not meet legal requirements to own them.

Gonzalez served as head of El Salvador's military's Logistics Division in 2010 before retiring after 30 years service in the army, Prensa Grafica reported. The Logistics Division is responsible for storing the army's weapons, and arms seized by the national police.

The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) found that the guns' original serial numbers had been erased and painted over, according to El Diario de Hoy. El Salvador's police analysis revealed that one rifle contained a piece from a gun that had been seized during a police rescue of kidnapping victims in 2001.

InSight Crime Analysis

The case of the colonel forms part of a larger pattern of elements in the Salvadoran military allegedly selling weapons, sometimes to drug trafficking organizations. Last year, a former lieutenant was accused of trying to sell machine guns and other military equipment to an alleged member of the Zetas. Eight soldiers and one civilian were charged in April this year with being part of a network that siphoned off weapons that were meant to be destroyed, selling them on to drug trafficking groups in Guatemala and Honduras. Six of the soldiers had been arrested a year earlier for allegedly attempting to sell 1,800 hand grenades to criminal groups.

The arrest of Gonzalez, a colonel who served as head of the division that stored weapons, indicates just how high these weapons trafficking networks may reach in the armed forces.

Guatemala and Honduran army officials have also been accused of selling arms to drug traffickers; some experts estimate that Central America’s militaries supply more arms to Mexican drug cartels than gun stores in the United States. The region still has a huge stockpile of military weapons after decades of civil conflicts. 

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

EL SALVADOR / 28 JUL 2017

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is visiting El Salvador to discuss regional anti-gang operations, as politicians in both countries push…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 22 SEP 2011

Venezuela is altering its gun policy in an effort to stem the alarming level of street violence, but the entrenched…

BARRIO 18 / 23 APR 2012

After a truce between warring gangs cut murders by half in El Salvador last month, the government is moving to consolidate…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.