Brazilian gun seizures panorama

    We have here at TFB given occasional news of different guns being seized by local authorities in Brazil. Weapons of all kinds have fallen into the hands of police agencies on a nationwide basis, but the concentration of such events in the Rio de Janeiro area is certainly evident, as shown by the recent record of 200 rifles seized from criminals by PMERJ – Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State Military Police) in the January to June 1, 2017 period, 72 of them in May alone. Last year, the total reached the 328-guns mark. However, what actually triggered this article happened just now: on June 1,  60 rifles, (45 7.62x39mm AK types, 14 7.62x51mm Smith & Wesson M&P 10s and a solitary 7.62x51mm G3, plus magazines for everybody), were found at Rio’s International Airport hidden in a shipment of swimming pool heaters (!) coming from Miami, Florida. Part of the intercepted shipment is shown in the featured image above shortly after being found.

    Although AK-family guns prevail in this June 1 seizure photo, a closer scrutiny will reveal some S&W M&P 10s plus a single G3 of unknown origin.

    A better view of some of the “Kalashnikovs” found hidden in pool heating equipment coming from Miami to Rio de Janeiro, where the tropical climate does not specifically require warm water for swimming purposes…

    The rifle in the foreground is clearly an S&W M&P 10 found in the illegal arms shipment from Miami, while the second gun (forward assist closer to ejection window, reshaped pistol grip) left the author wondering (help, TFB readers!).

    To complement the news, here’s a small selection of photos of some recent gun seizure occurrences in Brazil, showing not the only quantities, but the variety of items involved.

    Just as I was writing this, the photo above was sent to me by a PMERJ source showing the result of a single action by 14th Military Police Battalion in Rio on the same June 1: four AKs (including a scoped “shorty”), a ROMI-fitted Glock pistol, possibly with a full-auto kit, some other pistols, and three hand grenades.

    This assortment of rifles was recently seized by Bolivian authorities in a neighboring city with Brazil, and was reportedly en-route to a criminal group in São Paulo.

    This illegal shipment (drugs, assorted AKs, and a Safety Harbor Firearms .50 BMG rifle) made it through the border from Bolivia, but was later intercepted in the Mato Grosso do Sul state by Polícia Rodoviária Federal (Federal Highway Police) agents.

    This other SHTF .50 BMG rifle was, however, actually used in a bank robbery in the Paraiba State, Northeast Brazil, but fell into police hands shortly afterwards.

    Some guns found in the possession of São Paulo criminals: a FAL, two AR platforms and three AK types (left to right: Romanian PM-63, Hungarian AMD-65, and an unidentified “shorty” with a forward vertical grip), plus a (?) pistol.

    In another recent (early May), one-day operation, PMERJ troops seized 32 rifles from criminals, most AR platforms. Soldier in camo uniform holding a Colt M16A2 Commando belongs to BOPE, the Special Police Operations Battalion.

    It is not uncommon for police to find makeshift, non-firing “firearms”, as these shown in photo, in the hands of criminals. Such an expedient is used to make (usually) young boys look like armed persons from a distance so as to appear more intimidating.

    Although ARs, AKs, and FALs predominate, unusual types do show up occasionally, as in the case of this Swiss-made 7.62x51mm SIG SG 510 seized by PMERJ in Rio de Janeiro. However, belted ammo is not used in gun. Neighboring Bolivia used this rifle for a long time…


    This article had just been uploaded for publication when my cell phone buzzed and I received the three photos reproduced below, showing this uncommon (in this neck of the woods, at least) gun seized by 41 BPM (41st Military Police Battalion) in Rio’s Acari community: a bolt-action 5.56x45mm/.223 Remington rifle (see 30-round magazine) fitted with a Stoeger (shotgun and airgun manufacturer) stock, a cheap Comet 3-9x40EG scope (for airgun/airsoft rifles), and a folding bipod. What can you, TFB readers, say about it? Or should yours truly be immediately able to ID it? I just couldn’t!

    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.