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Cablegate: Blue Lantern Level 3: Pre-License End-Use Check

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0267 0992204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 082204Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9586
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000267

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR PM/DTCC - BLUE LANTERN COORDINATOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CS ETTC KOMC
SUBJECT: BLUE LANTERN LEVEL 3: PRE-LICENSE END-USE CHECK
CONDUCTED ON LICENSE 05-050090336

REF: A. STATE 22315

B. 05 SAN JOSE 0051

1. Per Ref A request, on March 12, we met with Rafael Polini,
the owner of Mundi Arms of San Jose and established the bona
fides of the company. We consider Mundi Arms of San Jose a
legitimate recipient of United States Munition List items and
Polini was knowledgeable of the International Traffic in Arms
Regulation (ITAR). Polini added that he was very familiar
with regulations governing the import of U.S.-origin defense
articles, including restrictions on re-transfer or re-export.

2. Mundi Arms of San Jose has been in business since 1994,
but derives from a company that Polini's father founded in
1937. Polini has a brother, Eduardo Polini, who also has an
arms business and was the subject of a previous Blue Lantern
check in 2005 (Ref B). The two brothers separated their
businesses in 1993-94.

3. Mundi Arms sells rifles, shotguns, revolvers, pistols, and
related accessories of all brands and calibers. The most
common and most sold items are .38 and .22 caliber pistols.
His office maintains files on all of their customers and
sends a monthly report to the Arms and Explosives section of
the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the GOCR ministry
responsible for oversight. In addition, the MPS regularly
inspects the store (usually once a week) to review sales
receipts and records.

4. Polini told us that all prospective customers must have a
background check, proof of firearms safety course, and
psychological test. His customers are mostly local hunters
and citizens concerned with self-defense. All of his
customers reside in Costa Rica and, due to GOCR regulations,
he cannot sell weapons to foreigners.

5. The store, located in the heart of downtown San Jose near
the intersection of Avenue Zero and Second Street, has a
monitored ADT security system. During non-business hours,
there is an armed security guard present outside the store
and iron security curtains are pulled down to physically
secure the premises. We observed three security cameras, two
directed at the entrance and one towards the display counter,
controlled by a monitor in Polini's office.

=======
COMMENT
=======

6. In Costa Rica the name "Polini" is synonymous with arms
sales and has a respectable reputation throughout the
country. Although Costa Rica does not have a military, it
does have a police force that is stretched to the limit due
to rising rates of crime. More and more Costa Ricans, a
generally peaceful population who would not normally purchase
firearms, are buying weapons for self-defense due to the
deteriorating domestic security situation.
BRENNAN

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