Steamrolled and melted: Brazil destroys over 4,000 guns seized from criminals
The Brazilian army and Federal Police on Friday destroyed some 4,000 guns seized from criminals or handed over by people in capital Rio de Janeiro. The weapons were seized during police operations in Rio de Janeiro's state, or voluntarily delivered to the authorities by people or by private security companies that closed.
According to Marcelo Daemon from the Federal Police, the number of weapons destroyed is higher than four-thousand because it's something that the Brazilian army and the police permanently do, but he did not give more details.
A steamroller crushed handguns, rifles, and ammunition arrayed across 15 meters (49 ft) of pavement at an army maintenance and supply depot, according to media reports.
Soldiers then collected the smashed weapons, which are to be melted down in an oven, Daemon told reporters. Most of the guns destroyed Friday were seized in 2016, he said.
Firearms suitable for use by the security forces were saved, while the remainder were earmarked for destruction, the inspector said.
The actual number of guns seized "is much greater" than the amount demolished on Friday, Daemon said.
"We ask the population to help us in this task, because it is a task that favours everybody," he said.
"For us it (the destruction of the weapons) represents a great victory. It is important to say that the number of weapons destroyed is much more than the four thousand weapons destroyed today because we together with our partner – the Brazilian army - are constantly sending weapons to be destroyed,” Daemon was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
“But for us, this is symbolic because even one gun, even a 38 (mm gun) with 6 bullets, it could be used for a robbery on the street, and it can kill a person," he added.
The demolition came a day after authorities at Rio's international airport confiscated 60 automatic rifles, including AK-47s and AR-15s, valued at $1.3 million.
Shipped from Miami, the guns were apparently intended for the Brazilian black market, police said.
The weapons were discovered in a container along with pool heaters in the cargo section of Galeao International Airport.
Four people were arrested, and a Brazilian citizen is being investigated in Miami, where the shipment originated, officials said.