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South Florida man illegally exported hundreds of AR-15 parts to Argentina, authorities say

AR-15: The Gun Behind So Many Mass Shootings

The AR-15 assault rifle is commonly used in mass shootings in the United States. Here's a closer look at likely reasons why.
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The AR-15 assault rifle is commonly used in mass shootings in the United States. Here's a closer look at likely reasons why.

A Palm Beach County man illegally exported hundreds of AR-15 parts to a weapons trafficking organization in Argentina, authorities said.

On Thursday, Cristian Barrera, 47, was charged with conspiracy to violate and attempted violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.

Barrera illegally exported hundreds of AR-15 assault rifle parts to Argentina without a required license from the State Department, authorities said. Homeland Security agents in Miami and Argentina worked together to collect a slew of gun and firearm parts.

Search warrants in Florida and Argentina resulted in the seizure of about 52 AR-15 assault rifles, 189 long arms, 156 handguns, one mortar round, one hand grenade, over 30,000 rounds of assorted caliber ammunition, five vehicles and $110,000 in cash.

On June 26, Argentina’s National Gendarmeria, the country’s military force, conducted an operation that led to the arrest of several suspects and the seizure of thousands of firearms and explosive materials.

In late June, thousands of assault-style weapons and explosives shipped through the mail from South Florida to South America were seized. This included more than 2,500 AR-15 rifles, handguns and grenades, along with some military-grade aircraft and tank weaponry.

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Some of the weapons seized in the arrests of members of an international weapons-trafficking operation by the Homeland Security Investigations department and U.S. law enforcement partners in Argentina and Brazil. PEDRO PORTAL pportal@miamiherald.com

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