By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The man considered to be the largest arms dealers trafficking weapons into Brazil was arrested in Florida on Saturday, according to a Brazilian official at the Specialized Weapons, Ammunition and Explosive Police Department (DESARME).
“End of the line for the biggest arms dealers in Brazil! Victory for the Civil Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro!,” read a message on DESARME’s social media.
Brazil’s Justice Ministry is said to already have asked the U.S. government to extradite the dealer, Frederik Barbieri. “Frederik Barbieri is investigated in criminal proceedings in Brazil and the United States. Requests for international legal cooperation among the two countries for the production of evidence are ongoing,” the Ministry said in a press release.
According to Fabrício Oliveira, head of DESARME, Barbieri and his group are responsible for trying to smuggle sixty automatic weapons into Brazil in June of 2017. The cargo was intercepted by Brazil’s federal police at Rio de Janeiro’s Tom Jobim International Airport’ cargo terminal.
Local media reported over the weekend that according to police investigations, part of these rifles would be delivered to drug traffickers in several favela communities, including Rocinha, one of the largest in Rio.
Barbieri, who has both Brazilian and U.S. citizenship, was arrested at his Florida home with at least forty automatic weapons, which officials say were to be shipped to Brazil in the coming weeks.
“His arrest is the result of an investigation by the American police with the help of the Brazilian police, a (Brazilian) task force stayed there for a week,” Oliveira told reporters on Saturday.
Brazilian authorities now hope that with the arrest the volume of weapons, including high-powered firearms, coming into Brazil, especially into Rio de Janeiro, will decline.