LA PAZ, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia's customs office (ANB) announced Friday that it had seized and decommissioned an arsenal of weapons in the city of Santa Cruz, including assault rifles, side-arms and other military hardware.
In a press conference, ANB president Marlene Ardaya said that the arsenal had been found in a container on board a truck, with the shipment originating from the United States.
"This container was prepared and loaded but had a tractor camouflaging it. It originated from Miami, passed through Santo Domingo (capital of the Dominican Republic), Peru, Chile, and was in Tambo Quemado (a mountain pass on the Chilean border) when we followed its transfer to the city of Santa Cruz," Eshe explained.
After it arrived in Santa Cruz, "an X-ray check identified long-barrel weapons of various calibers camouflaged inside a light-vehicle trailer," added Ardaya.
Carlos Romero, Minister of the Interior, specified that 75 military-grade weapons were seized, including semi-automatic rifles, machine guns, rifles, side-arms, and scopes with a range of up to 3,000 meters.
Romero expressed his surprise that the shipment had passed "so many controls" without detection and that an investigation had been opened.
"It seems strange that it originated from Miami in the U.S., but then went through four countries without being detected or identified. We will investigate this situation until the end," he vowed.
While Romero expressed the certainty that the shipment was for illegal reasons, the investigation will seek to uncover the motive. The weapons have been handed over to the Bolivian army to decide what should be done with them.