2 charged in Florida in massive international arms smuggling scheme

Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 28, 2019

MIAMI (AP) — Two people have been charged in Florida with orchestrating a massive arms smuggling scheme involving thousands of weapons and parts sent to South America.

Homeland Security Department officials said at a news conference Friday that authorities seized 5,300 firearms and components, many of them powerful AR-15 rifles. More than two dozen people have been arrested in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S.

In Miami, a criminal complaint charges 60-year-old John James Peterson and 67-year-old Brunella Zuppone with playing key roles in the smuggling scheme. In addition to the rifles and parts, authorities seized 156 handguns, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, 167 explosives and 15 silencers.

It wasn't immediately clear if Peterson and Zuppone had lawyers to represent them.