César Enrique Guihurt Reyes, 33, is in the crosshairs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Investigations Agency (HSI), which evaluate whether to issue a request for extradition toward USA where the man is accused of crimes that threaten national security.
Guihurt was captured in mid-July in Barranquilla, in an operation against the international arms trafficking, carried out by the Tax and Customs Police (Polfa), the General Prosecutor’s Office and the National Tax and Customs Directorate (Dian).
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According to a Polfa investigator who has been in charge of the case, Guihurt, known as the ‘arms trafficking czar’, arrived in the United States in 2014; There he dedicated himself to car theft and auto parts trafficking.
Precisely, in the midst of this criminal activity, the man learned in detail how the parcels were moved and how the controls could be circumvented to camouflage elements, initially auto parts of high end cars whose value in Colombia could triple.
“Guihurt came and went from the United States. In Barranquilla he led a life full of eccentricities and luxuries of ‘traqueto’. He surrounded himself with women, visited high-level places and spent excessively, ”said the researcher.
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He had rented a fifth house in the capital of the Atlantic where he continuously held parties, regardless of the pandemic. In fact, when Guihurt was caught, he was at an electronic party.
Arms trafficking: entrust modality
Guihurt partnered with Francisco Joseph Arcila Ramírez, alias Pacho, to send weapons from the United States to Colombia under the modality of parcels.
How did they do it? According to the investigator, they sent the weapons (in parts, unarmed) camouflaged in parcels of electrical appliances or communications equipment.
Said parcels could not exceed a weight of 20 kilos and their shipment should cost a maximum of 2,000 dollars so that it was not considered an export in customs terms.
This type of parcel is not verified since it is based on the “good faith” of the alleged sender, the authorities pointed out.
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Guihurt and Arcila took advantage of USABased on the Second Amendment, citizens can freely buy weapons on the grounds of personal protection.
its modus operandiAccording to the Tax and Customs Police, it consisted of locating North American citizens who were in charge of buy the weapons and of register them. After a while, they filed a complaint for theft and those weapons (pistols, revolvers and even rifles) were the ones they sent to Colombia in parcels or urgent shipments by air.
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Before shipment, the men altered the identification system of each weapon, “to prevent the authorities from tracking or tracking it,” the investigator said.
The business is round, since an AR-15 rifle in the United States can cost 3,000 dollars, about 12 million pesos; while in Colombia it is between 30 and 35 million pesos.
A Glock 19 generation 5 pistol in the United States is bought for $ 1,800, but in Colombia its value is over 12 million pesos; and an FN Five-Seven pistol (known as a ‘police killer’) is bought for 7,000 dollars in the United States, but 50 million pesos in Colombia.
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In Colombia, the possession of weapons is under the control of the StateIn other words, its purchase and sale is restricted and that to carry or have a weapon special permits are required. However, the illegal arms market is placing all kinds of elements in the hands of individuals, even those with high impact and lethality.
The capture of Arcila Ramírez, in January 2019 in Florida (USA), was made based on the exchange of information between federal agencies and the Polfa, which managed to collect the evidence to accuse him of distributing firearms without the required license, making false statements to a distributor of weapons with federal and conspiracy license to defraud the United States.
That capture left Guihurt on the authorities’ radar, who according to the investigation was in charge in Barranquilla of coordinating the reception of parcels or urgent shipments, assembling each piece of the weapon and marketing it to criminal networks such as the The n, the ‘Gulf Clan’ and at the time even a ‘the Fuzzies’.
Investigators noted that some drug traffickers are requesting the shipment of the Five Seven pistols, considering that their value and significance in the underworld give them status.
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In March of this year, the queen test against Guihurt took place, the seizure in Barranquilla of two rifles, two essential parts for a Five Seven pistol and 16 chargers for a pistol.
Agencies and Polfa seal agreements
In the midst of this panorama, the authorities of the United States and Colombia joined together to stop the arms trade.
“The criminals are confident that there is no way to track the weapons and that is not so true, because agencies in the United States have reached agreements with the arms manufacturers and have embedded a hidden number”, assured EL TIEMPO the Colonel Gelber Cortés Rueda, Director of the Tax and Customs Police (Polfa).
He noted that the United States Agency for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (AFT) has been at the forefront of this process to combat international arms trafficking.
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Colonel Cortés assured that in a coordinated effort with the National Tax and Customs Directorate and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, it has been possible to identify criminal structures dedicated to the arms trafficking of fire that “commit crimes in the metropolitan areas of Cali, Medellin, Bogota, Barranquilla and neighboring municipalities, which use the customs modality of postal traffic and urgent shipments to act “.
The director of the Polfa affirmed that 13 operations have been carried out since 2018, which have allowed the capture of 71 people linked to arms trafficking. That crime, in Colombia, gives a sentence between 14 and 17 years in prison, because crimes are added to it as a conspiracy to commit a crime.
In the midst of these operations, 71 rifles and 52 pistols have been seized. (See chart).
Colonel Cortés pointed out that very strong work is being carried out in Colombia, exchanging information in real time and of an operational nature, with the International Judicial Police (ICE / HSI, United States Embassy).
Thus they have managed to seize weapons and ammunition that had arrived in the country “because seizures are not only made at the airport. Follow-ups and investigative work are carried out that have allowed us to specify the aforementioned results,” he said.
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