Caracas, Venezuela. Feb. 13, 2004 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- An illegal shipment of about 50,000 7.62-caliber cartridges for AK-47 rifles was detected inside a container this Thursday by customs authorities at the Port of Maracaibo, on the western coast of Venezuela.
Authorities are inspecting the container were the ammo was camouflaged inside 18 kgs “Wind Fresh” laundry detergent containers.
Sources, including local newspaper Panorama, quoted General Castor Lopez Leal, chief of the 3rd National Guard Regional Command, saying that the illegal cargo had been shipped from Miami. en. Perez added that only rifle cartridges had been found as of 7 p.m., Thursday, although he did not discard the possibility that weapons of war could be found in the container.
“There is plenty of merchandise that has yet to be revised,” said Perez. “All I can assure you is that the seized cartridges were for AK-47 rifles. We will provide more details of the inspections at tomorrow’s press conference.”
After authorities found documents and personal items in the container, the sender was identified as Carlos Zamora Motta and the recipient as Daniel Lopez, but their whereabouts are still unknown.
The container belonged to the Geseo company, and besides the ammo, it also carried television sets and other electro-domestic shipped from the United States.
Venezuelan authorities are on high alert after rumors of an opposition-sponsored rebellion of destabilizing activities, after electoral authorities decided to postpone the announcement of whether or not opposition forces collected enough valid signatures to call for a recall referendum on President Hugo Chavez and several lawmakers.
Pamphlets calling for a military uprising were scattered trough the wealthy eastern section of Caracas, early today.
Pro-government political analysts argued that the ammunition seized in Maracaibo was to be used by the opposition in a possible coup d’etat against Chavez.
The government said it is prepared to defend “democracy and the rule of law” against another possible coup d’etat. Opposition forces and high-ranking military officers briefly removed democratically-elected President Chavez on April of 2002.