The Miami Herald
December 30, 2000

Munitions cache destroyed

Arms dealer ignored order by Hondurans


 The Honduran army has blown up nearly $3 million worth of ammunition and
 explosives belonging to a shadowy Cuban-born arms dealer, Honduran authorities
 announced Friday.

 The officials said that the munitions were destroyed in a series of controlled
 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 Edgardo
 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
 14 years.

 ``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 activist Luis
 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 a series
 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 Miami arms
 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 army began
 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.