The weapons were discovered in the western zone of Rio, an area under the influence of a narcomilitia linked to the Comando Vermelho
The Army has identified three military personnel suspected of participating in the theft of 21 machine guns from the São Paulo War Arsenal in Barueri, in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, and is investigating whether the trio was recruited by criminal factions to divert the weaponry.
According to officials following the investigation, the main suspicion is that the weapons were stolen on Independence Day, on September 7th, when the barracks were empty.
On Thursday (19), the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro found, among the 21 diverted weapons, four .50 caliber machine guns and four 7.62 caliber rifles. The weapons were discovered in the Gardênia Azul neighborhood, in the western zone of Rio, an area under the influence of a narcomilitia linked to the Red Command.
In a statement, the Southeastern Military Command affirmed that the director of the War Arsenal, Lieutenant Colonel Rivelino Barata de Sousa Batista, will be relieved of his duties. He had been in the position since March.
The progress in the investigations occurred after the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro sent a video circulating on social media to the Army, showing images of four large caliber machine guns being offered to the Red Command. Internally, officers involved in the investigation acknowledged the possibility that these might be the machine guns taken from the barracks.
When fully operational, .50 caliber weapons are capable of bringing down helicopters — a tactic commonly used in communities affiliated with the Red Command, as happened earlier this month. The others are targeted for armored truck heists, in direct ground combat actions.
Source: Folha De S. Paulo