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Cablegate: Argentina: Investigation Into Suspect Weapons

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1248/01 1781451
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271451Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8520
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6280
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1067
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1581
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6145
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN MONTEVIDEO 6541
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2077
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 0944
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001248

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

ICE/OIA FOR GERARDO CHAVEZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC KCRM PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECT WEAPONS
PARTS EXPORTS CONTINUES

1. (SBU) THIS INFORMATION IS LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE.

2. (SBU) Summary: A judicial investigation into a suspected
tax evasion and, perhaps, arms smuggling case, involving
Farmington, Connecticut-based company JLD Enterprises,
continues here. Argentine customs and judicial authorities
have requested assistance from ICE and CBP to assist on the
U.S. side with the investigation into the shipping of used
and/or spare weapons parts from Argentina to the U.S. Apart
from the shipment halted in Buenos Aires, CBP in Hartford,
Connecticut and Argentina's Trade Transparency Unit (TTU)
identified another shipment bound for JLD originating in
Germany. However, this shipment of spare weapons parts from
PAW PROPPE, a German firearms distributor, had all its
shipping manifests and customs documentation in order and no
anomalies were uncovered. The Argentine investigation was
leaked here to the press, which began the speculation about
arms trafficking and supposed links to criminal and terrorist
organizations, such as the FARC and Brazilian drug
trafficking gangs. As yet, Post is unaware of any evidence
supporting these claims. ICE/CBP in Hartford is looking at
customs documentation from earlier shipments from Argentina
to JLD, and Argentine officials continue the investigation in
Buenos Aires. End Summary.

3. (SBU) In February 2007, Argentina's Trade Transparency
Unit (TTU) flagged a shipment of used and/or spare weapons
parts being shipped from Buenos Aires by U.S. company JLD
Enterprises to its headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut.
JLD is owned by Argentine citizen and U.S. resident Jose Luis
Diaz. The shipment caught TTU's attention because of the
apparent discrepancy in the value of USD2,600 assigned to a
planned shipment of what has been variously described by the
press as either 6,700 kilos of used arms parts/scrap metal or
6,700 individual arms parts. According to press reports here,
JLD had a contract worth some USD310,000 with Fabricaciones
Militares, the Argentine parastatal arms manufacturer, to buy
and ship used parts/scrap metal to the U.S.

4. (SBU) Argentine Customs contacted Mission's ICE
representative at the Buenos Aires Port Container Security
Initiative (CSI). In March 2007, the ICE Attache initiated
an investigation based on the information TTU/Argentine
Customs provided. ICE Attache contacted the Resident Agent
in Charge (RAC) Hartford, Connecticut. RAC Hartford, in
connection with the CBP National Targeting Center CBP/NTC and
TTU Argentina, identified seven containers bound for JLD
originating in Germany. Those containers, shipped by PAW
PROPPE, a German firearms distributor, were inspected by CPB
but the cargo matched the customs broker's customs entry
documentation and invoices. RAC Hartford and CBP are looking
to see if the spare parts shipped from Germany and those from
Argentina match, i.e. to see if the parts from the various
shipments can be assembled into complete firearms.

5. (SBU) In addition to the one shipment that was flagged
before leaving Argentina, RAC Hartford indicates they have
identified and obtained the U.S. Customs Entry forms for 36
previous shipments from Argentina with the same importer and
exporter. ICE Attache is working with Argentine Customs to
obtain additional shipping documents here. As JLD is aware
of the investigation in Argentina and the scrutiny in the
U.S., it is highly unlikely there will be any more suspicious
shipments from Argentina to the U.S., limiting ICE to
reviewing historical documents and making it difficult to
uncover any illegal activity.

6. (SBU) ICE Attache contacts and the Argentine press
speculate that the used parts/scrap metal are Argentine
military weapons that are sold as "used" and/or "scrap" by
corrupt officials to a group of individuals, reportedly to
include Jose Luis Diaz. Allegedly the parts are shipped to
the U.S., reassembled into complete weapons and sold by JLD
Enterprises. The press goes on to speculate that some of

these weapons have found their way into the hands of criminal
and terrorist organizations in Latin America, such as the
FARC and Brazilian drug trafficking gangs. Embassy is
unaware of any evidence supporting these allegations, but the
investigation here in Argentina is not without precedence.
There is an ongoing investigation, initiated in 2002, after a
number of Argentine Military weapons from Fabricaciones
Militares, including rifles, machine guns, pistols and
grenades, turned up in Brazilian favelas.
WAYNE

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