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Police arrest 250, seize weapons in Argentina

22 april 2014, 12:37

A series of raids west of Buenos Aires yielded 250 arrests and unearthed firearms and drugs, police said Monday, the second such operation in as many weeks, AFP reports.

"There were 20 separate related raids in La Matanza, Moreno, Merlo and Moron, in which 250 people were detained, marijuana and cocaine were confiscated, as well as firearms" and 76 vehicles, police chief Daniel Sobrero said.

On Saturday, police said around 100 suspects were arrested and 85 weapons seized when police conducted dozens of simultaneous raids in Buenos Aires province.

Buenos Aires Province Governor Daniel Scioli, an ally of President Cristina Kirchner with his eye on the presidency, on April 5 decreed a state of emergency in the province that is home to 40 percent of Argentina's 40 million people.

The decree followed a series of robbery-murders that triggered a furious response from people who attempted to lynch suspected thieves. Some of them were beaten to death in the street.

It frees up 600 million pesos ($75 million) to ramp up security, including to pay for some 5,000 retired police officers to beef up patrols, Scioli said.

He announced a decentralized system for emergency calls, a "panic button" app for mobile phones and measures against drug trafficking, which he blamed for the worst of the crime surge.

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