Former defense chief admits receiving documents about recovery of stolen weapons in Tancos

stolen tancos weapons Image from video by RTP Noticias

The former chief of staff of the Defense Ministry admits, for the first time, that he received documentation on the recovery of stolen weapons in Tancos.

For the first time, the lieutenant general admits that he has been in possession of documentation on the recovery of the weapons stolen from the Tancos military base since November 2017.

Read More: 5 Portuguese military police arrested in Tancos weapons heist investigation

In an exclusive interview with RTP, Lieutenant General Martins Pereira said that he had already sent the Central Department of Criminal Investigation and Action (DCIAP) the document that was delivered to him at a meeting with those responsible for the Military Judiciary Police (PJM).

Martins Pereira had already confirmed the meeting. However, he had never admitted to receiving a memorandum at the meeting he held with the former director of the Military Judiciary Police and Major Vasco Brazão.

“The true documentation was delivered early this afternoon at the DCIAP by the services of my lawyer,” he said in a response sent to RTP on Friday at 9AM.

So far, the former chief of staff for Minister Azeredo Lopes had merely stated that at the meeting with the former members of the PJM he saw no indication of any concealment by possible culprits in the Tancos theft.

Azeredo Lopes categorically denied that he had ever heard of a cover-up. And he reappeared publicly next to the prime minister, António Costa, that reinforced the confidence in the Defense.

The version of Colonel Luís Vieira, former director of PJM, among the defendants of Operation Húbris, is unknown for the time being.

During Operation Hubris, five prosecutors and about 100 investigators and experts from the Judiciary Police participated.

Various crimes were involved: “criminal association, denial of justice, misrepresentation, falsification of documents, influence peddling, personal favoritism practiced by an employee, abuse of power, possession of a prohibited weapon and arms trafficking.”

For his part, Vasco Brazão asked the criminal investigating judge to be heard again. The military also promised to hand over to the DCIAP the document that sent the former chief of staff to the Defense Ministry at the November meeting.

It remains to be seen whether the document that Brazão will send is the same as Martins Pereira has already handed over to the prosecutors.

The Tancos Weapons Heist

tancos weapons

Last month at least five members of Portugal’s Military Judiciary Police and the Republican National Guard were arrested in connection with a weapons heist that occurred last year in the central parish of Tancos.

Among those arrested in the operation dubbed “Operation Hubris” was the director of Portugal’s Military Judiciary Police, Colonel Luís Vieira, according to a report in TSF on Tuesday.

According to the same source, the investigation is related to the mounting scenario regarding the discovery and recovery of the weapons that had been stolen in Tancos in June, 2017.

According to the BBC, among the weapons stolen were:

  • 1,450 9mm ammunition cartridges
  • 150 hand grenades
  • 44 anti-tank grenades
  • 18 tear gas grenades
  • 102 explosive charges
  • 264 pieces of plastic explosive

Most of the weapons stolen in Tancos were found on October 18, 2017, in the region of Chamusca.

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