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

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0587 1921423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101423Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9925
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000587

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR PM/DTCC - BLUE LANTERN COORDINATOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KOMC ETTC CS
SUBJECT: BLUE LANTERN LEVEL 3: PRE-LICENSE END-USE CHECK
CONDUCTED ON LICENSE 050107493

REF: STATE 68489

1. Per Reftel request, on July 7, we met with Peter Andre,
the owner of Armeria J.R. Andre and established the bona
fides of the company. We consider Armeria J.R. Andre a
legitimate recipient of United States Munitions List (USML)
items. Andre told us he was familiar with the regulations
governing the import of U.S.-origin defense articles,
including restrictions on re-transfer or re-export.

2. Armeria J.R. Andre, located in San Jose, has been in
business since 1949 and is one of the oldest gunshops in
Costa Rica. Peter Andre's father, George Andre, was the
original owner of the business. Peter Andre also has another
gunshop in Escazu, located just outside of San Jose, called
Serengeti Armeria. Andre mentioned that sales in his Armeria
J.R. Andre shop were relatively low and that he kept the San
Jose store open mainly due to sentimental reasons since it
had been open for so long.

3. The company sells vintage hunting rifles, shotguns,
revolvers, pistols, and related hunting accessories including
knives and outdoor survival equipment. The store maintains
files on all of their customers and is visited twice a week
by the Ministry of Public Security's General Directorate for
Arms and Explosives to review and approve purchase requests
and final sales. The company has a valid license to import
and sell firearms from the Ministry.

4. Marco Moya, the store manager, detailed the rigorous
checks that a potential buyer must go through in order to
legally and successfully purchase a firearm in their store
(and in accordance with Costa Rican law). These requirements
include:

-- Proof of firearms safety course;

-- psychological test;

-- copy of cedula (Costa Rican national identification and
voting card);

-- police record;

5. Andre told us that the last time this store had been
robbed was in the late 1980s. The store's main entrance,
when closed, is secured behind a metal curtain that is locked
with a high-security lock and is alarmed. Normally the store
is attended to by its manager and one employee, who also
double as security guards and are armed. When closed, all of
the displayed weapons are put into an excellent high security
vault. Andre told us that ADT monitored the store and is
physically checked every 30 minutes by a roving guard. We
observed one camera near the entrance.

6. Andre underlined that his company has no business
relationship whatsoever with Armeria Rex, a company that has
been found to be an unreliable recipient of USML in the past.
According to Andre, Rex had taken part in an illegal arms
trade with companies in Peru and Panama some years ago.

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

7. In Costa Rica the name Armeria J.R. Andre" is synonymous
with arms sales and has a respectable reputation throughout
the country. This company and a handful of others make up
the bulk of all firearms sales in Costa Rica.
CIANCHETTE

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