Salvadoran Defense Minister Says Stolen Grenades Were for the Zetas

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El Salvador’s defense minister said that six soldiers recently charged with the attempted robbery of more than a thousand hand grenades intended to sell the weapons to Zetas based in Guatemala.

While Defense inister David Munguia had previously suggested that the six soldiers, who were arrested in April, aimed to sell the grenades to criminal groups, there had been no official mention of the involvement of the Zetas until his recent comments to the press.

Munguia argued that the operation was a positive development rather than a worrying sign of military collusion with organized crime. “The important thing is that our security systems are bringing results, and that those grenades that were going to leave the country, which were 1,812 grenades, didn’t leave.”

However, Munguia did not address the Central American grenades that have been smuggled into the hands of Mexican drug traffickers. While grenade attacks were once an exceedingly rare event in Mexico, today the country registers scores of them on an annual basis, which has been attributed to the influx of Central American grenades. Thousands of hand grenades have been seized by Mexican authorities during the four-plus years that President Felipe Calderon has been in office.

As InSight Crime noted in June, military arsenals in El Salvador and neighboring countries are a consistent source of weaponry for regional criminal groups like the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel.

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