Munitions cache destroyed
Arms dealer ignored order by Hondurans
BY GLENN GARVIN
The Honduran army has blown up nearly $3 million worth of ammunition
explosives belonging to a shadowy Cuban-born arms dealer, Honduran authorities
The officials said that the munitions were destroyed in a series
explosions over 49 days after the dealer, Mario Delamico, ignored two court
orders to remove the material from Honduran military warehouses.
``The danger has been eliminated,'' said Honduran Defense Minister
Dumas at a Tegucigalpa warehouse. Dumas said a large quantity of automatic
rifles from the cache would be sold abroad to cover the costs of destroying the
But the mystery remains. Still unanswered is what happened to
about $11 million
worth of weapons that apparently disappeared from the warehouses, or why
Delamico was allowed to store his lethal inventory on Honduran military bases for
``I'm not sure anybody is going to try very hard to find out,''
said one diplomat.
``Delamico is like a ghost from the past who everybody would like to see
Delamico is believed to be living in Panama to avoid mounting
legal troubles in
Tegucigalpa over the arms, as well as accusations that he participated in a series
of terrorist bombings in Honduras in 1994 and 1995. Delamico's Honduran
attorney is pursuing him as well over what she says is an unpaid bill of $1.8
Coincidentally, one of his old running mates -- veteran anti-Castro
Posada Carriles -- is in jail in Panama, where police are investigating accusations
that he plotted to kill the Cuban leader during a Latin American summit last
Honduran police have said Posada Carriles and Delamico masterminded
of about 10 bombings in 1994 and 1995 aimed at weakening the government of
Honduran President Carlos Roberto Reina, who they believed was pro-Castro. But
the two men were never charged with anything in connection with the bombings.
Delamico first turned up in Honduras in the mid-1980s, representing
dealers Ron Martin and James McCoy. The men shipped $14 million worth of
arms to Honduras in 1985, hoping to sell them to the U.S.-backed contra rebels
who were fighting the communist regime in Nicaragua. The Honduran army,
anticipating commissions from a quick sale, allowed the arms to be stored on its
But the sales were blocked by U.S. intelligence agencies and never materialized.
Meanwhile, Delamico's weapons stayed in Honduran military warehouses,
although recent inventories suggest that millions of dollars worth of the material
disappeared. In January 1999, the weapons were seized by the Honduran justice
ministry, which was investigating arms trafficking.
After 11 months of legal wrangling with Delamico, the Honduran
blowing up the munitions on Nov. 10 on a military base near San Pedro Sula in
northern Honduras. A team of 72 explosives experts, firemen and doctors directed
blasts that destroyed several hundred thousand pounds of land mines, rockets,
ammo, dynamite and blasting caps.