22 Grenade Launchers Go Missing from Honduras Army Supplies

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22 anti-tank grenade launchers that have gone missing from military stockpiles may have fallen into the hands of criminal groups, according to Honduran prosecutors.

The Honduras Special Prosecution Office Against Organized Crime has opened an investigation into the disapperance of 22 RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers from military supplies, reports El Heraldo.

The weapons went missing from the army’s logistical support center in mid-2010, although the military opened no internal investigation into the matter, nor made an effort to recover the missing equipment, according the newspaper. The RPG-7s were most likely smuggled out in trucks loaded with scrap metal, although the exact date of the theft is unknown, the El Heraldo report says.

One sergeant has been detained and is being questioned by authorities about his alleged involvement in the robbery.

The RPG-7 launchers are shoulder-fired weapons with a range of hundreds of meters.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Honduras security forces have a poor record of keeping track of their armament, feeding suspicions that these stockpiles are an important source of weapons for criminal groups. Hundreds of automatic rifles and several hundred thousand bullets were reported missing from a police warehouse last November. In 2010, an aircraft disappeared from an air base in San Pedro Sula; six military officials were later charged in the case.

Precedent cases indicate that the missing anti-tank launchers could have been trafficked far outside of Honduras. A number of anti-tank weapons recovered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and San Andres Island, Colombia, were later traced back to the Honduran army.

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