GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s security forces seized 5,614 illegal firearms of different calibers during the first 10 months of this year, the daily El Periodico reported over the weekend, citing figures provided by police and prosecutors.
Many of the weapons were confiscated from organized crime groups, the newspaper said.
Between January and October, according to police figures, 11 M-60 machine guns and 21 submachine guns were seized.
Authorities also seized eight claymore mines, as well as dozens of assault rifles and 1,332 hand grenades.
Police estimate that around 1 million illegal firearms are in Guatemala, El Periodico said.
Weapons enter Guatemala from Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico via Izabal, Chiquimula, Jutiapa and San Marcos provinces.
Guatemala is considered one of Latin America’s most violent countries with an average of 17 murders daily and a large presence of street gangs and drug traffickers.
Last month, Guatemala’s National Civilian Police, or PNC, swore in 2,161 new officers, boosting its ranks to 23,287 uniformed members in this crime-ridden nation of roughly 13 million people. EFE