By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Known as the “Lord of Guns”, Brazil’s largest illegal arms dealer, Frederik Barbieri, was sentenced by a US court in Florida to twelve years and eight months in jail on Thursday for trying to smuggle over 900 weapons to Brazil illegally. Last month Barbieri pleaded guilty to the charges in a Florida courtroom.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Weapons apprehended by Rio police, including AK-47s,
Weapons apprehended by Rio police, including AK-47s, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

According to the court, “from May of 2013 through February of 2018, Barbieri conspired with others to: possess firearms with obliterated serial numbers; deliver packages containing those firearms to contract carriers for international shipment without providing notice that the packages contained firearms; and smuggle firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition from the United States to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”.

During that time, U.S. prosecutors say Barbieri sent to Brazil 122 shipments of heaters, which contained 915 firearms, and 15 shipments of air conditioning, with 45 firearms. One of Barbieri’s shipment was intercepted by Brazil’s Federal Police at Rio’s International Airport in June of 2017.

Weapons included AK and AR rifles which were supposed to be sold to drug lords in several of Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities. AK and AR rifles have a black market value of approximately US$15,000 to US$20,000 in the Brazilian black market, according to Brazilian authorities.

Brazilian prosecutors suspect, however, Barbieri has been shipping weapons to the South American country ‘for years’.

Since 2015 Brazilian authorities have tried to arrest Barbieri for international arms trafficking, but it was only in June of 2017 that he was placed in Interpol’s wanted list.

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