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El Salvador, General Benítez-Noticias ‘s arms trade

This week, a witness testified before the El Salvador courts in the case of General Jos Atilio Bentez over arms trafficking. The witness with the criteria of opportunity or criminal benefit is Colonel Salvador Gonzlez Quezada, who was Director of Logistics at the Ministry of Defense between 2010 and 2011. The former colonel will explain this to the three judges of the First Criminal Chamber, General Jos Atilio Bentez ordered that at least 15 AK-47 and M-16 rifles be fraudulently legalized while he was Vice Minister and Defense Minister.

The former general is credited with irregularly registering 29 weapons accused of trading at prices around $ 4,000 and $ 6,000. Gonzlez Quezada is referring to the fact that he was ordered by Bentez to change and renew the weapons and then place them on the General’s behalf for registration and fraudulent sale, with the Colonel taking part of the profit receives. The Beretta brand rifles AKM, M-16, a G-3, two carbines and handguns were in the arsenal of the Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES), where they were repaired and modified before being sold. Gonzlez Quesada will explain that he was removed from his post in November 2011 when he refused to register a Steyr assault rifle in Bentez’s name that was on the FAES inventory rather than one of the seized equipment in the camp. The witness also stated that at the time Bentez facilitated the registration of weapons with former President Mauricio Funes, who found 92 weapons of war after leaving for Nicaragua. As a result, the general will be prosecuted for fraud, arbitrary acts, illegal possession and possession of firearms, and illicit trafficking.

Diplomatic weapons

General Jos Atilio Bentez Parada was Deputy Minister of Defense between May 31, 2009 and November 22, 2011 and became Head of that Portfolio on November 23, 2011, a position he held until June 10, 2013.

The general was appointed Salvadoran Ambassador to Spain on May 5, 2014, a position he held until April 23, 2015, from where he handled the transfer of additional arms. He’s certainly getting excess supplies, but instead of some recoilless M40A1 (CSR-106) cannons, Salvadoran anti-tank weapons, only 20 of which are in inventory, or AML or BMR / VEC tank rafts needed by the Army’s Salvadoran cavalry, Fix If you see the wear and tear of your own or 120 mm mortars, as those in the inventory no longer work, it occurs to him to process the transfer of 18 OTO Melara Mod. 56 105 / L14 mm howitzers [1].

At the same time as the M102 and Zastava M56 howitzers, the Mod. 56 contributed nothing to the range and firepower that the Salvadoran artillery already had, the OTO Melara 105mm Mod. 56. To top it off, the Salvadoran Logistics Support Command (CALFA) had Already in 2016, the restoration of the sights and systems of the M101A1 howitzers achieved with its own technology, and a Yugoslav M56 obs had been fully restored. All at a fraction of the cost of a new one, and it could be fully implemented on all M56s for the cost of the old OTO Mod. 56 freight.

On April 24, 2015, the General became Ambassador of El Salvador to Germany. There it processed a batch of MG-5 machine guns (marketed as HK-121). Despite being excellent weapons, there are more than 1,200 standard M60 machine guns in the FAES inventory. Logistics Support Command (CALFA) was able to equip itself with the U.S. Ordnance Conversion Module, which upgrades any usable M60 receiver to the M60E6 / E4 configuration for a fraction of the cost of the few MG-5s that could be purchased. In addition, the conversion template is available as part of Foreign Military Sales and other US utility programs. Converted, the new M60 are lighter and more compact than the standard, which increases mobility. The improved feed chamber assembly eliminates load jams and improves operator safety by enabling belt-loaded, no-load operation.

Trade-in weapons

Of the weapons that were swapped for two M71 howitzers, the 709 HK G-3 rifles are in good condition, including 150 models that have been re-stored without being used since they were received during the swap experienced gunsmiths could have refined. The basic model could be quickly adapted to the compact model with a retractable shaft and thus used by patrol units. Changing the barrel and fine-tuning the firing mechanism make it a precise weapon, and changing the front end allows all kinds of accessories to be customized. A sawed-off barrel makes it the HK-51, a weapon of choice in the hands of British SAS commandos. In other words, with some commercially available accessories, CALFA was able to modify the 709 HK G-3 rifles to not only equip Special Forces Command units with special weapons, but there were enough numbers to equip a battalion.

There were 1,873 Madsen M50 submachine guns, spare parts will be available in Brazil, where it was built as the INA M953 and where it is still in use. And of the 2,157 used FMK-3 submachine guns and 2,446 new FMK-3s, we know today that the Salvadoran batch will be between 5,000 and 8,000 copies, most of them from the National Police. With revision, adjustment and upgrading using commercial equipment and the use of adequate ammunition, the FMK-3 could have continued to be used and recycled into active units. (Julio Montes)

[1] International Institute for Strategic Studies (February 2016). The military equilibrium 2016. 116. Routlegde. P. 398. ISBN 9781857438352

Photo: Swap weapons.

The OTO Melara Mod 56 in El Salvador (J. Montes)

CSR-106 in m240 (J. Montes)

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