February 8, 1995 in Nation/World

Weapons Found When Steamroller Explodes

Compiled From Wire Services

A load of weapons being smuggled in a steamroller that exploded during inspection by police was being shipped from Central America, apparently to Ecuador, authorities said Tuesday.

An Ecuadorean man suspected of being the shipper has been detained, police said.

The steamroller exploded at the Atlantic port of Cristobal on Monday as anti-narcotics police tried to open one of the wheels with an acetylene torch, suspecting narcotics were inside. Three people were killed and at least 26 were injured.

After the explosion, police opened another of the roller’s cylinders and discovered 93 AK-47 automatic rifles as well as ammunition and C-4 plastic explosive.

“We have information that these arms come from guerrilla organizations that have been dismantled in Central America,” Gabriel Castro, director of the technical judicial police, said in a radio interview.

Castro did not say if police suspected the shipment was related to the current border clashes between Ecuador and Peru.

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