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Probe alleges illegal arms sales to Mexico

German manufacturer Heckler & Koch sold assault rifles, report says

Allegations that a German arms manufacturer illegally sold guns to Mexico have gained more credence following the publication of a report yesterday.

A report published by a German newspaper says Heckler & Koch could face a heavy fine for delivering G36 assault rifles to four Mexican states, contrary to export restrictions. Those restrictions were imposed on the basis of suspected police corruption and collaboration with organized crime in Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Jalisco.

The report was based on an investigation by the Customs Criminal Office (ZKA) in Cologne, Germany, which alleges that the manufacturer sold about 4,700 of the assault rifles to those states. Of those, 1,924 went to Guerrero, where Mexican police seized 36 of the illegal rifles last September after members of a drug cartel murdered 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college.

Allegations of the illegal sales were first heard in 2009 after a former executive of the company revealed the details to a German activist.

Now, at least five former company executives could be indicted, which was one of the recommendations of the ZKA report on the investigation. It also concluded that Heckler & Koch was responsible for “bringing about, encouraging or at least approving” the arms sales.

The ZKA urged that the company be required to pay a fine equal to the value of the illegal arms it sold, estimated at 3 million euros, or US $3.36 million.

The allegations come at the same time as questions about the gun’s accuracy under certain conditions.

Source: El Economista (sp), Deutsche Welle (en)

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