Luncheon sought US help to track Barettas stolen from army bond -cable

Defence Board Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon approached the US Embassy for help to track guns that he believed were illegally imported and later ‘stolen’ along with AK-47s from an army storehouse in 2006.

According to diplomatic notes from then US Ambassa-dor Roland Bullen, released via WikiLeaks, Luncheon suggested that the five automatic Baretta pistols were never intended for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). “Instead, some unknown purchasers of the weapons arranged for the military to import and hold them until a warehouse “theft” could be arranged to get them out,” Bullen explained. He said Luncheon expressed deep concern that he did not know how long the situation could have been going on and “referred repeatedly to the weapon smugglers’ “nexus with the military.””

Luncheon had called the March 3, 2006 meeting with Bullen on short notice to discuss the theft of weapons from the GDF storehouse on February. He asked for gun trace information and provided the serial numbers for the weapons. An Embassy security officer requested that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) provide gun trace information, which later revealed that an individual in New Jersey purchased the weapons.

In an earlier cable, Bullen had noted the theft of the 33 AK-47 semi-automatic rifles and five automatic pistols from the storehouse, located less than a mile from the chancery, sometime between February 23 and February 27. He had also noted that the army sources had indicated that there would be a request in analyzing forensic evidence found at the storehouse.

According to Bullen, Luncheon gave him a copy of an October 19, 2005 memorandum, purportedly sent from himself (Luncheon), in his capacity as Secretary of the Defence Board, to the Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority Khurshid Sattaur. The memorandum provided customs clearance for the GDF to import the five Baretta pistols, which Luncheon said were imported by Caribbean Cargo and Package Services (CCPS). CCPS, Bullen noted, was the same company that imported a shipment containing three firearms that was intercepted on February 11 at the Cheddi Jagan Inter-national Airport. In that case, Bullen had also made a report, in which he noted that Customs Officials intercepted the weapons in exported cargo from the US on North American Airlines flight 091 from JFK International Airport.  Customs officials examined a box that reportedly contained party utensils and found an AK-47 Rifle with a magazine containing thirty (30) rounds of 7.62 x 39 ammunition; a Glock 9mm Pistol Serial with one magazine; and a Luger 9mm Sub Machine Gun with one magazine containing thirteen (13) rounds of 9mm ammunition. There was also a box with fifty rounds (50) rounds of 9mm ammunition.

An Airway Bill #13489405 identified the shipper as Shaw Bess, of 1410 Union Street, Brooklyn New York, while the consignee was reputedly Sandra Eastman Thorpe, of Lot 4 George Street, Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara.

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