Gun rentals have presented an obstacle of police in Colombia, where there are a reported 2.5 million illegal straps on the street. Criminals rent hammers to commit burglaries, bank robberies and contract killings, but due to the small quantities, rental operations can easily hide them. Furthermore, the same gun can be used by multiple people, so linking them to specific crimes is harder. However, this month, law enforcement were able to bust two gun rental outlets in Cucuta (a criminal stronghold for cartels and organized crime outfits) and seize guns, ammunition and drug paraphernalia.
At the first spot, police seized three revolvers, a sizable amount of ammo, a scale, a glass blender with cocaine residue in it and two police caps. According to La Opinion, this spot was frequented by a criminal group, led by a man named “El Veneco,” that stole cars and robbed people.
At the second location, law enforcement found an arsenal which included nine revolvers, three pistols, and a rifle, and rounds upon rounds of ammo. This shop was run by Germán Augusto Munevar Peñaranda (known as “El Armero,” translated as “The Gunsmith”), of the drug cartel Los Rastrojos. In addition to Los Rastrojos, it is said that this spot supplied notorious criminal organizations such as Clan Úsuga (a.k.a. the Urabeños) and guerrilla groups Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (the National Liberation Army [ELN]) and Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (the Popular Liberation Army [EPL]).
According to Insight Crime, based on 2015 gun rentals in Baraquilla, a revolver can be rented in Colombia for around 100,000 Colombian pesos (about $30) per day. The same year, it was a little more expensive to rent in Bogota, at 300,000 to 900,000 Colombian pesos (about $90-$150) per day. There have been similar operations reported in Mexico.