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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09GUATEMALA897 2009-09-21 16:42:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Guatemala
Cable title:  

GUATEMALA: BLUE LANTERN LEVEL 3: PRE-LICENSE END-USE CHECK

Tags:   ETTC KOMC GT 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGT #0897/01 2641642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211642Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0041
					  UNCLAS GUATEMALA 000897 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC KOMC GT
SUBJECT: GUATEMALA: BLUE LANTERN LEVEL 3: PRE-LICENSE END-USE CHECK
ON LICENSE, 050183538

REF: STATE 83508



1. (SBU) Summary: In response to reftel, Emboffs

researched the bona fides of the arms import company

Almacen El Bisonte (AEB). The research included an on-site

inspection of AEB, an interview with the company's legal

representative, and records checks of both the company and

the representative with the MOD's Arms and Ammunition

Control Department (DECAM). As a result of the

investigation, Post recommends approval of reftel license.

End Summary.





2. (SBU) On September 3rd, Emboffs conducted an on-site

inspection of AEB located inside a large commercial

shopping center and interviewed the company's legal

representative, Rene Polasek Mejia, who cooperated fully

with Emboff requests, and offered complete access to his

records, and a tour of the facility. AEB is owned by the

father of Polasek, Josef Polasek Petrova, a Czechoslovakian

immigrant to Guatemala, who has worked in the Guatemalan

weapons industry since the late 1940's. Per reftel, for

privacy reasons, Polasek prefers to use a post office box

address for AEB, but Polasek confirmed to Emboffs the

physical addresses of all three weapons locations that he

operates with his father and also the address of his

warehouse and office facility in the city.





3. (SBU) AEB is located on the third floor of a large,

family-oriented commercial retail location. The store is

securely located in the back corner of the third floor and

is well-protected. There are various protective measures

utilized inside the store including a private security

guard, Internet-based recording cameras, and infrared and

motion sensors placed throughout the store and in the

well-constructed weapons storage room. The store's

presentation is well-organized with various cases featuring

specific inventory to target the store's various clientele

including hunters, collectors, competitors, private

security guards and farmers. Signage is well-marked and

the front entrance is well-protected with double pane glass

that both highlights and fortifies a storefront showcase.

The front entrance has a set of steel gates and a private

guard standing watch over the eight-foot interior entrance.

The well-lighted showcases throughout the store display

about 40 guns in total from inexpensive revolvers to the

classic pieces which Polasek states that many collectors


purchase for display purposes only. The Polasek family has

been in the arms business for over 50 years.





4. (SBU) As an official distributor of a well-known

Czechoslovakian weapon brand called CZ, most of Polasek's

inventory is purchased from CZ with smaller amounts coming

from Argentina and the U.S. Polasek imports about 200-300

weapons from the U.S. per year, and stated that he would

like to import more from the U.S. Per reftel, Polasek

purchased 150 .38 Rossi revolvers to sell to private

security guards. Polasek explained to Emboffs that the

Rossis are a private security guard's gun of choice;

because of its small size, it can be easily placed in a leg

holster and used as a back-up weapon.





5. (SBU) Polasek demonstrated that he is familiar with

relevant regulations governing the import of U.S.-origin

defense articles, including restrictions on re-transfer

and re-export. Polasek explained that all of the gun

distributors who purchase weapons from his stores (over a

100 according to Polasek) are located in Guatemala City,

and added that although they make frequent purchases at all

three of his stores, they are never allowed to exceed the

limit of ten weapons per order.





6. (SBU) AEB books and DECAM registries were

well-maintained, and indicated that while AEB does sell

some of the weapons imported from the U.S. to other arms

distributors, the company also sells a substantial number

of the weapons to private citizens.





7. (SBU) AEB has a clean record with DECAM and has passed

all routine inspections without incident. According to

DECAM authorities, AEB is a medium-scale, well-managed

weapons store that has always operated within local laws

and regulations. Based on the results of the on-site

inspection, interviews and a records check with DECAM, Post

recommends approval of the reftel license.
MCFARLAND