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Cablegate: Blue Lantern Level 3: Post-Shipment End-Use Check

VZCZCXYZ0042
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0771 2691932
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251932Z SEP 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0128
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000771

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR PM/DTCC - BLUE LANTERN COORDINATOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC KOMC CS
SUBJECT: BLUE LANTERN LEVEL 3: POST-SHIPMENT END-USE CHECK
CONDUCTED ON LICENSE 050112184

REF: STATE 96188

1. Per reftel request, on September 24, we met with Pablo
Murillo, the owner of Electromecanica Pablo Murillo, and
established the bona fides of the company. We also met with
his business partner, Oldemar Echandi. As a result of this
post-shipment check, we consider Electromecanica a legitimate
recipient of United States Munitions List (USML) items.
Murillo told us he was familiar with the regulations
governing the import of U.S.-origin defense articles as well
as the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR),
regarding restrictions on re-transfer or re-export.

2. Electromecanica Pablo Murillo, located in San Jose, has
been in business since 2004 importing and selling defense
articles. The store is located above a veterinary clinic
owned by Echandi's father. There is no sign indicating that
the gunshop is located there so all customers are referred by
word of mouth or local knowledge.

3. The gunshop maintains all proper paperwork on its
customers and is in compliance with regulations of the Arms
and Explosives section of the GOCR's Ministry of Public
Security. All types of firearms are sold, including
shotguns, rifles, and pistols. The 9mm pistol is the most
sold firearm. In addition, Electromecanica sells a large
variety of weapons accessories including munitions, clips,
uniforms, flashlights, etc. They are official distributors
of Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson firearms in Costa Rica.

4. Electromecanica's primary customers are private security
companies, other gunshops, or elements of the GOCR itself.
These customers represent approximately 60 percent of their
sales. The remaining 40 percent of sales are to private
individuals. All are Costa Rican.

5. We assess the security of the premises as adequate and
similar to other gunshops that we have visited in Costa Rica.
They have a camera and alarm system that we verified is
monitored by a private security company. Murillo told us
they have never been robbed since they started business.
(NOTE: Although located in a high-crime part of downtown San
Jose, due to their location above a veterinary clinic, it is
unlikely that many passersby would know of its existence.
END NOTE.) They have two wardrobe-type storage vaults and
one small, but wide vault located on the premises. Echandi
told us they have another secure arms storage vault located
off the premises. We did not visit that site.

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

6. Both Murillo and Echandi seemed very well informed of the
firearms business and clearly wanted to cooperate with us.
They are aware of problems that other gunshops in Costa Rica
have had with U.S. licenses, particularly Armeria Rex (a
gunshop that has been found to be an unreliable user of USML
in the past), which they emphasized had no dealings with
them. Though some of their paperwork and customer tracking
system seem inefficient, they are complete and in order. Of
note, the post-shipment check was on 18 Sig Pistols that have
not yet arrived because they are still in production in the
U.S.
CIANCHETTE

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