Criminals are packing heavier weaponry

By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Organized crime is getting heavier weaponry at a rate the security forces cannot keep up with, according to Juan José Andrade, director of Fuerza Pública.

“This is a concern we have been talking about for a while, because criminal groups are getting heavier guns and that’s a huge threat to both police officers and civilians.” he said.

Andrade explained that cops can only carry small weapons because they need to comply with the Armas y Explosivos law, which regulates what the officers may or may not carry.

“This phenomena is the reason why our police forces are the ones in Central America that always wear a bulletproof vest. We might need to discuss the law and foresee changes in the short term,” said Andrade.

His comments come after the latest police raid against heavily armed groups on Wednesday night, where police officers arrested several individuals in front of a bar in Llorente de Tibás.

One of them allegedly tried to bribe two officers with around one million colons, according to police. The men were driving a Honda with two Glock pistols in the vehicle, according to a report. Both weapons were without permits, officials said.

The Special Operational Forces and Operational Support Group agents also arrived after reports of other powerful weapons and ammunition in several parked vehicles. After a quick review, officers found seven other weapons, including a U.S.-made AR-15 assault rifle, which uses 5.56- milimeter caliber bullets and has an effective range of at least 500 meters, according to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Police said another individual had three pistols with four loaders and a total of 31 bullets.

Earlier this week, the security ministry reported that 340 firearms have been confiscated in the first four months of the year.

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