Major illegal firearms seizing action in Argentina

    (Images credit: Gendarmeria Nacional Argentina)

    Argentine authorities have just busted what appeared to be a large-scale scheme of illegally importing and exporting firearms. The recent (November 3) action primarily involved the local GNA – Gendarmeria Nacional Argentina (the nationwide, military-organized security agency), while the PFA – Policia Federal Argentina and the DGA – Dirección General de Aduanas (the customs agency) also participated. Significantly, initial intelligence was reportedly provided by HIS (Homeland Security Institute), the investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Preliminary reports say that 620 firearms were found in four different hiding places in Argentina, these including 344 long guns (plus a single 7.62x51mm FN MAG machine gun) and 276 short guns of multiple types, in addition to 32,940 rounds of ammunition of different calibers. It was also reported that all the weapons had been illegally imported from the United States and that would eventually find their way to criminal groups in Brazil. Detailed investigations are now being carried out by a tri-national (U.S., Argentina, and Brazil) team so that the whole scheme can be appropriately figured out.

    Some details, however, have emerged. Other than the presence of the MAG machine gun in one of the caches, the more habitual crime-related rifles (e.g., AR and AK platforms) were also found, while vintage bolt-action rifles were particularly numerous. The short guns included pistols and revolvers of all ages and types, including some real museum/collector items (Luger P.08 and Mauser “Broolhandle” pistols spotted).

    The photos below may help sharp-eyed TFB readers to ID some of the hardware seized:

    Assembled rifles included the usual 5.56x45mm AR platforms of varied configurations, plus what appears to be a 7.62x51mm ArmaLite AR-10 variation in the background.

    A 7.62x51mm FN MAG general-purpose machine gun was the heaviest weapon seized by the Argentine authorities in the recent raid. Just take a look at the volume of plastic-wrapped and boxed guns and accessories also found. If you look closer at the photo, you’ll notice that most items are already labeled as ‘EVIDENCIA FORENSE’ (forensic evidence).

    Several Luger P.08 pistols and an M1911-type are seen here, as well some belted 7.62x51mm rounds (for the MAG?), a high-capacity, 100-rd Surefire box magazine for ARs, and other assorted items. A Simmons scope box is also discernible.

    Another view of the same general area, with a bunch of pistols on the left and an AK to the right. Noticeable models are a cased .22LR Ruger, a Broomhandle Mauser (wooden grip visible), another Luger P.08, and some other pistols. Could TFB readers ID them? Also, the large air pistol with a brown grip…

    A varied assortment of bolt-action rifles was also found, this including some SMLEs (Short Magazine Lee Enfields), Carcanos (?), etc. How about the gun (bottom, fifth from right) with a Carcano-type spike bayonet and a pistol-type box magazine? Its trigger guard looks Vetterli-Vitali… But  sharp-eyed reader SP mclaughlin  then gave me the ID: Beretta M1918/30!

    Vintage ammo for vintage rifles? Looks like so, judging from the appearance of these loose rounds in wooden crates. Five-round stripper clips for rifles are barely visible in the box away from camera.

    Wanna have fun? Slightly-higher-res pics at

    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.