Most Unusual Illegal Weapons Seizure in Rio de Janeiro

Ronaldo Olive
by Ronaldo Olive

Following a particularly long (about one year) investigation on the assassination of a Rio de Janeiro city counselor and her driver, civil police agents recently came up with the arrest of two suspects of having committed the crime. Complementary investigative work quickly led to a search in the house of a person closely connected to one of them, where a very large number of boxed AR-type rifle components were found hidden in closets. The confiscated material would reportedly be enough for the assembly of 117 rifles, but not a single barrel was located. At first, it was believed that the destination of the stored items would be the assembly of airsoft ARs, but that was not the case.

Left photo: the "HK M27" lower receiver found in the cache. Right photo: for comparison, a fully assembled (Umarex?) airsoft HK M27 rifle.

The airsoft possibility resulted from the very initial discovery, in the middle of the components, of a lower receiver marked “HK M27 Cal. 5.56mm x 45” whose “USMC-172-001272” serial number pretty much recalled those of the Umarex airsoft variants (e.g. USMC-172-570815). Sure, a lot of “experts” came out and told the stupefied media that the USMC prefix was an indication that the U.S. Marine Corps was a possible origin of the illegal stuff. Well, so much for creative guessing…

The subsequent unpacking and selection of the, eh, goods more clearly showed that they were, in fact, intended for real firearm use. To prove it, Rio Civil Police Firearms Department married seized components to an AR upper receiver and barrel from their inventory and came out with a fully working AR… Investigations are still going on to learn where the barrels would come from, the exact destination of the final rifles, and all related stuff.

Another view of the cache, with three sound suppressors also showing.
Right side view of one of several lowers marked "HECKLER & KOCH GMBH - Made in Germany", and undistinguished prints. Others did not carry any markings.
All the AR bolt carrier assemblies were individually found in unmarked boxes.
A confiscated unmarked lower with added firing mechanism components of the same origin was used to produce a fully functional AR platform.
Ronaldo Olive
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.

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  • AF_Ret_20.5 AF_Ret_20.5 on Apr 02, 2019

    Those are not AR-15's. They are in-fact, machine gun recievers (HK M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles). Notice the third pin hole above the selector lever. They are only missing the auto-sear.

  • Dennis Dennis on Apr 15, 2019

    More "fast and furious" contraband? Time to put a stop to Holder's crime spree!