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Briefing Paper I: The Dominican
Republic Case Study and Methodology

United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development
in Latin America and the Caribbean


Briefing Paper I: The Dominican
Republic Case Study and Methodology
Table of Contents

This is a working document and is subject to regular revisions, updates, corrections,

and changes. Interested readers and users should consult the UNLIREC Public Security
webpage (http://www.unlirec.org/) to check for regular updates. About UNLIREC II
Acknowledgements III
Introduction to the Series: Profiling Ammunition Seized at Border V
Controls and Recovered from Crime Scenes across Latin America
and the Caribbean



Briefing Paper I: The Dominican Republic Case Study and 1


Part I: Scope and methodology of the Dominican Republic case 1

1. SCOPE 1

Part II: The Dominican Republic public security context and 11

normative framework.
This document is intellectual property protected by the UN. No part of this 3. CASE STUDY: HOW DO WE FIND MEANING IN A FACT? 16
document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any 4. QUALITATIVE OBSERVATIONS (A WINDOW INTO THE SOCIETY) 43
form, or by any means, for any purpose, without prior permission in writing from 5. KEY FINDINGS, TRENDS, AND ANALYSIS 45
the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development
in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), acting as a representative body of Part III: Main conclusions and policy recommendations for 47
the United Nations. This document is not for sale. improving public security.
United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in COMPLEMENTARY INTERVENTIONS SEEM APPROPRIATE?
Latin America and the Caribbean 2. MOVING FORWARD: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES 50
Complejo Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Av. Pérez Araníbar 750 ANNEX 52
Magdalena del Mar Annex A: Map with location and time: where and when evidence was 52
Lima 17 collected?

Email: programme@unlirec.org
Telephone: (+51) (1) 625 9130
©UNLIREC 2018 – All rights reserved

About UNLIREC Acknowledgements
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin UNLIREC embarked upon the development of the present Series in response to requests
America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), headquartered in Lima Peru, was created by from Latin American and Caribbean Member States to support national efforts in the fight
United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/41/60 J in 1986. It serves as the only UN against illicit trafficking of explosives. This effort was made possible thanks to the generous
regional entity specialized in disarmament and non-proliferation in Latin America and the financial support from the Government of Germany.
The working version of the Series was spearheaded by Manuel Martinez and Alfredo
UNLIREC works to meet the needs of 33 States from Latin America and the Caribbean in Malaret. Important contributions were made by the following UNLIREC staff and
the field of disarmament and arms control, in coordination with local, national, regional, consultants: Ignacio Bollier, Rodolfo Gamboa, Amanda Cowl, Ian Ruddock, Philip Boyce,
and international partners. The UNLIREC instead of The Regional Centre contributes Daniel Mack, Mark Mastaglio, and Arabeska Sanchez. Additionally, significant comments
to improving public security, promoting confidence-building measures, assisting in the and contributions were provided by Axel Manthei, developer and owner of the CartWinPro
design of public policies, and supporting implementation of international instruments Ammunition Database, Jonah Leff and James Bevan from Conflict Armament Research,
through the following initiatives: and Luis Antonio Loayza from the Peruvian National Police.

• Builds the capacity of security sector personnel (law enforcement agencies and UNLIREC owes particular appreciation to the Dominican Republic and their representatives.
Armed Forces) and legal officers in the fight against illicit firearms trafficking. Their openness, transparency, support, and political will to explore untapped sources of
• Provides technical assistance in the destruction of firearms, ammunition and information made this first Briefing Paper possible. In particular, we would like to express
explosives, and in managing stockpile facilities. our gratitude to all the men and women who serve in the Dominican Republic National
• Supports the integration of arms control measures and public security frameworks Police Ballistic Laboratory for their hospitality and relentless comittment.
for the reduction of armed violence.
• Guides the creation of inter-institutional coordination mechanisms and national
firearms policies.
• Provides legal assistance on normative frameworks related to firearms, ammunition
and explosives.

UNLIREC seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament the region as part of its
commitment to support Member States in their implementation of the United Nations
Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and
Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN 2001 PoA).

This series of briefing papers will directly contribute to the achievement of Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG) 16 - to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable
development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and
inclusive institutions at all levels”. Target 16.4 seeks to significantly reduce illicit financial
and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms
of organized crime. The achievement of this target would contribute to a reduction in
all forms of violence and assist governments and communities to find lasting solutions
to public insecurity. The strengthening of the justice sector and the rule of law are direct
products of reinforcing the capacities of relevant professionals in the face of the challenges
posed by armed violence and illicit trafficking in firearms and ammunition.

Introduction to the
Series: Profiling
Ammunition Seized
at Border Controls
and Recovered from
Crime Scenes across
Latin America and the
This introduction presents The Series
and outlines the motivation and
objectives behind this effort, as well
as offers some key definitions and
highlights important takeaways from
background literature.

Armed violence in many Latin America and the Caribbean is too high and international
attention too limited. Particularly troubling is that ammunition proliferation and use
seem to have been generally relegated to the sidelines of policy-relevant debates.
Considering that bullets are the ultimate accomplice in most armed violence
lethal outcomes, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and
Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) has endeavoured to
conduct a series of case studies aimed at sketching a profile of ammunition used in
criminal activity across Latin America and the Caribbean, one country at a time.

Ammunition profiling is “the compilation of data on the various types of cartridges

documented on site, with particular focus on calibre, production facility, and year of
manufacture— [for] piecing together the sources and supply chain for ammunition

circulating in conflict situations.”1 This series is an attempt to apply ammunition profiling 7.5 percent of street segments, and 25 percent of crimes are concentrated in 0.5 to
methods, usually carried out in conflict settings, to diverse public security contexts. 2.9 percent of street segments.8
UNLIREC embarks in this endeavour with a view to shed light on the murky trail
behind illicit ammunition proliferation, which is an enabling factor in armed violence. Moreover, firearms are more frequently used in homicides in Latin America and the
After all, the death toll from armed violence in public security contexts accounts for Caribbean than elsewhere in the world. According to the Igarapé Institute, in 2016,
most global lethal outcomes due to violence. In fact, it dwarfs that of direct battlefield firearms were recorded to have been used in approximately 67 percent of homicides
deaths, yet international attention to public security pales in comparison.2 This series in Central America and Mexico, 53 percent in South America, and 51 percent in the
is indeed, at its core, a pursuit to profile ammunition in illicit circulation; however, it is Caribbean. In comparison, on average, firearms were used in 32 percent of homicides
also an international call for urgent care. Ending criminal use of ammunition is owed at the global level.9 Considering that most homicides in the region are perpetrated
to the millions of lives taken by bullets, and to those for whom bullets have taken a with firearms, it seems fair to conclude that societies awash in illicit firearms and
part of their life. ammunition are likely to generate detrimental conditions for public security and,
consequently, for development.
Latin America and the Caribbean represent only 9 percent of the world’s population,
yet account for approximately 32 percent of all recorded homicides.3 The region The fundamental motivation behind this attempt to profile, and move a step closer to
has an average homicide rate of 24 per 100,000 people, which is about four times trace, small-calibre ammunition is best explained by the Small Arms Survey (SAS) in
the world average.4 In many countries, homicides have reached, and maintained, their 2008 Ammunition Tracing Kit, stating,
epidemic proportions.5 National homicide rates, however, do not necessarily reflect
the true extent of armed violence as experienced in the major cities of the Latin “Ammunition is a rapidly consumable good. During… high rates of crime, it is
American and Caribbean. In 2017, for example, Latin America and the Caribbean, used up quickly and needs to be replenished often. In this context, controlling
according to the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, was home the supply of ammunition can have a more immediate impact on armed violence
to 10 of the top 10 – and 43 of the top 50 – world’s most violent cities.6 What is more, than can the control over weapons.”10
a different study by the Igarapé Institute, arrived at a similar conclusion: in 2016, 10
out of the top 10 - and 42 of the top 50 –most homicidal cities in the planet were A different SAS research paper adds “Ammunition matters, because it is half the small
located in the region.7 The methodologies, ranking, and cities differ in these studies, arms equation. It is half of the problem, and precisely one half of that problem is
but the overall picture remains the same. Remarkably, within cities, most homicides currently being ignored.”11 Ammunition profiling could also help reduce armed,
occur in a handful of urban settings; particular locations, a proportion of blocks or because it enables better understanding of the phenomenon and provides evidence
street segments, reveal a higher predisposition for lethal violence than others. In other for accurate controls and sensible policy-making. While tracing single rounds,
words, homicides around the region could be hyper-concentrating in so-called urban tracking its lifespan to identify the exact diversion point of the ammunition used in
hotspots. A 2016 study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) finds that, in criminal activity, is difficult, the more comprehensive the profile is, the closer are the
a sample of five cities from the region, 50 percent of crimes are concentrated in 3 to interested parties to uncovering these diversion points and the responsibility borne by
the actors participating in the illicit supply chain.12

Only once trafficking circuits are deciphered, can leakages be halted. It is hoped
that the methodology tested, data generated, and resulting conclusions from this
“Series”, will deepen the understanding of the issue and assist government officials,
diplomats, activists, and researchers to tailor measures aimed at reducing the supply
of ammunition reaching unauthorized end-users. It is also hoped that the series
generates a debate and triggers recognition of the need for further research focusing
on ammunition proliferation and use.

This series will pursue access to primary sources of information, which have often
remained untapped and full of potential to generate strategic and tactical intelligence.
To complete this series, UNLIREC researchers will partner with national authorities
and analyse ballistics evidence recovered from crime scenes. In general, the data will
be extracted from ballistics exhibits and will include, but not be limited to, calibre,
manufacturer, headstamp markings (alphanumerical codes, year of manufacture,
manufacturer, lot numbers, symbols, and colours), cartridge length, and physical

composition. Information will be complemented by any available documents or reports UNLIREC embarks on this endeavour with a view
from the crime scene. In some cases, when the sample has not been systematized,
this means sorting through the individual pieces of physical evidence, within evidence
to shed light on the murky trail behind illicit
storage facilities, and classifying it. In other cases, it will require examining police ammunition proliferation, which is an enabling
reports and internal documents from the forensic ballistics laboratories. In the best factor in armed violence.
of cases, it will be a combination. UNLIREC researchers will also pursue to complete
the profile by studying reports from seizures and confiscations carried out by
customs authorities, intelligence services, law-enforcement, and the armed forces.
After all, the death toll from armed violence in
Ideally, the compiled information will be cross-referenced with national import public security contexts accounts for most global
records, allocation of ammunition lots, official stockpiles, national procurement lethal outcomes due to violence. In fact, it dwarfs
authorizations, commercial armoury availability, and other relevant and available that of direct battlefield deaths, yet international
contextual information. In all case studies that follow, the combination of information
will vary, but the aim will remain the same: putting together the most comprehensive
attention to public security pales in comparison.
profile of ammunition used in criminal activity as possible, one case(ing) at a time.
This series is indeed, at its core, pursuit to profile
B. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES ammunition in illicit circulation; however, it is also
The specific objectives of this series are as follows:
an international call for urgent care.
• Raise international awareness on the resulting impact that ammunition proliferation Ending criminal use of ammunition is owed to the
has in undermining public security and, consequently, development efforts. millions of lives taken by bullets, and to those for
• Contribute to public security with evidence-based conclusions.
--Broaden the understanding of illicit ammunition proliferation and use. whom bullets have taken a part of their life.
--Make primary data accessible for other researchers to continue exploring the
--Partner with national authorities to translate research conclusions into actionable
policy recommendations.
• Develop a replicable methodology of data systematization that enables interested
parties to establish trends, patterns, and probable diversion points of ammunition
used in criminal activity.
• Test the data systematization methodology by examining real-case scenarios:
--Sketch a profile of ammunition circulating in determined public security contexts,
based on collected, seized, or recovered ammunition, spent cartridges cases and
bullets from crime scenes.
--Collect enough information information for a representative sample of the
universe under scrutiny, departing from anecdotal evidence.
--Tap into unexplored sources of information to produce original datasets.
--Present the limitations of each case study so that future research efforts can
improve upon this series.
• Position the methodology as a policy tool for national partners to generate big-
picture intelligence in the fight against firearms-related crime.
--Generate a catalytic effect by jumpstarting a regional movement that replicates
this examination.

For this series UNLIREC has decided to adhere to the following definitions for key
terms. Unless specified otherwise, these were taken verbatim from the International
Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG).13

Figure 1 Ammunition: the complete round round or its components, including cartridge

Small Arms Ammunition

cases, primers, propellant powder, bullets or projectiles, that are used in a firearm,
provided that those components are themselves subject to authorization in the
respective State Party.14

Cartridge case: an item which is designed to hold an ammunition primer and

Projectile/ propellant and to which a projectile may be affixed; its profile and size conform to the
chamber of the weapon in which the round is fired. [In pursuit of simplicity, UNLIREC
will only use the term cartridge case in this series when the projectile is no longer
affixed to the casing].
Complete small-calibre

Headstamp: A cartridge headstamp is the marking on the base of a cartridge casing

that surrounds the primer cup. In the case of a rimfire cartridge, the headstamp covers

the entire casing base.15 Commonly, numbers or letters [or symbols] are stamped into
Cartridge the base of a cartridge case by the manufacturer in order to identify the cartridge and
case its original loading.16

Marking: the application of marks – including colours, descriptive text and symbols
– to munitions, parts and components thereof, and associated packaging, for the
purposes of identifying, among other things, their role, operational features, age; and
the potential hazards posed by those munitions.

XXX Headstamp XXX Projectile: an object capable of being propelled by force normally from a gun, and
and headstamp continuing in motion by virtue of its kinetic energy. [Also referred to as a bullet within
markings the context of firearms. See ammunition definition. This Series will privilege the use
of the term bullet.]
Source: Small Arms Survey
Small arms ammunition (SAA) less than 20mm calibre: consists of cartridges used
in rifles, carbines, revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, and machine guns and shells
used in shotguns, which are less than 20mm calibre. [This study will also refer to
small-calibre ammunition; as most existent literature uses the latter term to refer to
ammunition smaller than 20mm calibre].

Small arm: any man-portable lethal weapon designed for individual use that expels
or launches, is designed to expel or launch, or may be readily converted to expel or
launch a shot, bullet or projectile by the action of an explosive. NOTE 1: Includes, inter
alia, revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, sub-machine guns, assault
rifles and light machine guns, as well as their parts, components and ammunition.
NOTE 2: Excludes antique small arms and their replicas. [Small arms can also be
referred to as firearms. This series will privilege the use of the firearm.]

Stockpile: a large, accumulated stock of explosive ordnance. Often used

interchangeably the term ‘stock’ or to denote the ammunition retained in a specific
ammunition storage facility or depot. (c.f. stock; c.f. national stockpile).

Tracing: the systematic tracking of illicit ammunition from the point of its manufacture
or import, through the lines of supply, to the point at which it became illicit.

D. BACKGROUND LITERATURE maintains that, “Examples of large-scale diversion include the former Soviet Union
countries and more recently Iraq and Libya. Where accounting and accountability
A growing body of research has been devoted to tracing ammunition found in armed break down, diversion at grand scale may flourish.”25 These studies argue for proper
conflict to their origin. This series drew from past experience and and adapted to fit and safe ammunition stockpile management, and evidence the need to minimize
methodologies to fit a public security context.17 surplus stocks.

However, most efforts focussing on loose small-calibre ammunition tracing usually In another 2014 paper, SAS assessed the possible origins of small-calibre ammunition
run into obstacles. That is to say, a situation that “imposes limitations on analysis, found in the Syrian conflict by examining the headstamps of recovered exhibits.
because loose small-calibre ammunition is rarely marked with lot numbers, which That report pointed to state-to-state transfers as the probable origin for the bulk of
are required to identify specific ammunition consignments in production or export the cartridges documented.26 Additionally, it found evidence of external supply of
records. The required information is generally marked on ammunition boxes.”18 ammunition after the outbreak of hostilities.27 A similar effort by Conflict Armament
Furthermore, small-calibre ammunition is, more often than not, recovered from Research (CAR), 2017, entitled ‘Weapons of the Islamic State’, notes that ammunition
violent events without the factory boxes or packaging, which would have essential dating from the 2010-2017 period accounted for more than 15 percent of the group’s
information to determine its origin.19 Nonetheless, despite the difficulties in tracing documented ammunition.28 Both studies suggest similar broad patterns in the origins
small-arms ammunition, several research efforts have created comprehensive of ammunition manufacturers, and, importantly, note that - after the outbreak of
ammunition datasets, in a myriad of settings, that revealed detrimental dynamics to violence - ammunition transfers continued to flow.
human security.
It becomes clear from previous efforts that, even if limited, baseline information
The most relevant work for this series has been the ‘Analysis of Seized of Ammunition can be used to identify the sources feeding criminal networks, whether that is
in the State of Rio de Janeiro’ (2014-2017) carried out by the Brazilian Sou Da Paz from insufficiently regulated national production, complicit diversion from law
Institute.20 One of the main findings of this study is that 42 percent of the illicit enforcement, leakages from surplus stockpiles, or state-to-state transfers. Certainly,
ammunition seized in 2014 had been manufactured domestically by the Companhia the information collected through these efforts has revealed diversion points and
Brasilera de Cartuchos (CBC). Thus putting forward evidence on the need for better identified detrimental dynamics affecting human security in the different contexts;
oversight of national production and trade, and arguing for enhanced marking while its analysis yielded sensible prescriptive measures to control unauthorized
practices. Another important finding is that 22 percent of the ammunition seized ammunition proliferation and combat its criminal use.
corresponded to rifle calibres. Noting the prevalence of the 7.62mm calibre which is,
“used in AK and FN FAL rifles [the latter] utilized by the Brazilian Armed Forces.”21 This
study offers the conclusion that to prevent armed violence, it is essential to stop the
flows of ammunition reaching unauthorized hands and hold the supply chain that
feeds the illicit trade accountable.

Other studies have gone further and exposed the role that state security forces play
in feeding illicit markets. One 2008 SAS study reveals, based largely on ammunition
profiles, a systematic operation from the Kenyan national police of supplying
ammunition to the Turkana pastoralist communities.22 A similar 2007 SAS study in
the region of northern Uganda found evidence of complicit transfers from security
forces to the Karimojong warriors. Relatedly, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this latter study
found that criminal gangs had accessed assault rifle ammunition, in principle of
restricted use and mostly held by the security forces. The evidence was insufficient
to suggest complicit trade, however it pointed to the police as the most likely source
of diversion.23

A 2014 SAS paper, examining active conflicts settings, found that “…more than half
[of the ammunition samples collected] were produced during the cold war. This
highlights the role old stockpiles of small-calibre ammunition continue to play in
armed conflict and underlines the relevance of efforts to reduce aging surpluses.”24
Similarly, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, in a 2016 report,

Briefing Paper I: The
Dominican Republic
Case Study and
Part I:
Scope and methodology of the
Dominican Republic case study.
This section also includes important
notes from the researchers and signals
the limitations of this case study
The Dominican Republic was chosen as the first public security context to carry out
a case study in this series for two main reasons. First and foremost, the high level of
openness, political will, and support for the ammunition profiling initiative. National
authorities considered this initiative of paramount importance to complement
their efforts aimed at combatting the scourge of armed violence. Second, national
requirements pertaining to ammunition imports. According to national legislation,
all ammunition legally imported into the country, for the civilian market, must be
marked with a four-letter code. The first two letters being “RD” (country code), the
third letter identifying the importer (each armoury authorized to import ammunition
has been assigned a unique letter), and the fourth letter corresponds to the authorized
ammunition lot. This presented a unique opportunity since the following hypothesis
could be tested: if ammunition marking is required upon importation, and data from
headstamps could be systematically collected, researchers would be able to track loose
small-calibre ammunition and perhaps point to some diversion points. The combination
of openness and demonstrable hypothesis presented the ideal scenario for the first step
in the objectives of the series. The Dominican Republic case study follows.


The scope of the Dominican Republic case study consists, largely, of two different
sets of primary data. The first is ammunition seized at border controls in 2017. The
second is ammunition and its components recovered from crimes scenes in 2017.
The earlier dataset sheds light on ammunition trafficking, while the latter on criminal
end-use of ammunition. Considering that the data that could be extracted from each
universe varied considerably, both datasets were compiled and analysed separately.

The first dataset used for the Dominican Republic case study was put together from ammunition and spent cartridges, when available, UNLIREC researchers extracted
reports collected by the General Customs Agency (DGA in Spanish) on ammunition and compiled the following information:
seized at border controls during 2017. The seizures took place in two main locations:
airport controls and port controls. UNLIREC partnered with the DGA to access their • any and all literal headstamp markings available, including:
files and then examined both the reports submitted after each detected trafficking --import codes, year of manufacture, manufacturer and symbols.
incident, as well as the pictures of the seized ammunition. UNLIREC researchers were • calibre,
able to document and systematize 15,898 complete rounds of ammunition belonging • colours,
to 48 separate trafficking cases in 2017. From the files of seized ammunition at border • length of case, and; case, and;
controls, UNLIREC researchers extracted and compiled, when available, the following • ferrous or non-ferrous.
Beyond the recovered ammunition, , it was possible to extract the following public
• date of interception, security relevant data from the accompanying documentation, when available:
• flow (outflow or inflow),
• exact country of origin and/or destination, • date of the crime,
• place of interception, • location of the crime,
• gender of trafficker(s), • time of the crime,
• concealment method, • perpetrator´s intention,
• exact amount in rounds of ammunition, • outcome of the crime (harm caused),
• calibres trafficked, • gender of victim,
• brand of ammunition, • gender of perpetrator and;
• outcome of interception, and; • any available police-intelligence generated from the scene of the crime.
• any available police-intelligence generated from the seizure.
To complement and contextualize the primary data obtained from evaluating both
The second dataset of information for this case study was constructed one case(ing) datasets, UNLIREC was also able to access additional information from government
at a time. documents. Researchers accessed tallies of ammunition seized in 2017 by the
Division of Military Intelligence and the allocation of the four-letter import codes to
The overwhelming majority of recovered ballistics evidence from firearms-related the different commercial armouries, as well as some ammunition allocation lots by
crimes committed in the Dominican Republic is submitted for analysis to the Ballistics the Ministry of Interior and Police (MIP).
Identification Unit of the Scientific Police. Hence, UNLIREC partnered with the
Scientific Police and accessed all recovered ammunition and components from crimes The data and analysis of these two universes of information will be presented in the
perpetrated in 2017. This second dataset, as well as its processing methodology and next section, but first the methodology employed to systemize and extract the data
subsequent analysis, will be far more in-depth than the previous one due to the fact that will be discussed and some limitations will be put forward.
UNLIREC researchers had full access to the raw evidence rather than only reports on it.
The universe of information found in the storage facility was divided into two segments:
physical evidence and accompanying documents. The physical evidence consisted In general, the methodology undertaken for this case study employed a Fact ->
of complete rounds of ammunition, spent cartridge cases, and bullets recovered Meaning -> Action approach to the field of public security research. In a nutshell, the
from the either the scene under investigation or a person (wounded or deceased). methodology entailed the following:
It is important to note that most bullets were severely damaged or fragmented and
thus offered limited data. The accompanying documents consisted of police records, • How do we find a fact? By collecting primary data and systematising the
notes from first responders, and/or forensic ballistics reports. information extracted from either recovered ammunition and its components
or seized ammunitions, complemented by the accompanying documents. The
UNLIREC researchers were able to document and systematize 4,123 individual pieces primary data collected is then considered an undisputable fact, bearing in mind that
of physical evidence (termed ‘exhibits’ for brevity) belonging to 1,061 separate crime it is a representative sample of the existing universe of information.
scenes from 2017. From the physical evidence, in cases with complete rounds of • How do we find meaning in a fact? By analysing the data collected to interpret

2 3
what dynamics (i.e. trends, supply chain actors, origin, or patterns) may lie behind Figure 2

Production Line. Profiling

the systematised information. Thus reaching conclusions and sketching a profile of
the context under examination.29
• With an interpretation at hand, which complementary interventions seem
appropriate? Based on the interpretation of the primary data and in-house public Ammuniton in the Dominican
security expertise, researchers developed a set of context-specific recommendations
to counter some of the identified detrimental dynamics to public security. Republic
2.1 Data Collection: How did we find a fact?
In terms of methodology, UNLIREC researchers carried out a desk analysis of the DGA
files, and systematically extrapolated relevant information from the official reports
into a Workbook. The data points extracted from the DGA reports and systematised
in the Workbook are the ones mentioned in the Scope segment, and together form
the vis-a-vis ammunition seized at borders in 2017..
Researcher #2
In addition, to find a fact regarding ammunition and its components recovered from
crime scenes in 2017, the methodology required a field mission carried out by a task
force commissioned to build the second dataset from scratch. Consequently, UNLIREC
deployed three researches, for a two-week period, to the Dominican Republic to collect
and systematise primary data from the evidence storage facility of the Scientific Police.
Open Evidence Package
UNLIREC researchers partnered with national authorities, and were granted full access
to the storage facility to carry out the collection of primary data. The ballistics evidence
Examine Ballistics Evidence
in the storage facility was divided by national districts and year. UNLIREC researchers
only considered evidence from crimes committed in 2017 and accepted, at face value,
Repackage, Reseal & Stamp
the geographical classification according to national districts employed by the Scientific
Evidence Package
Police. The evidence had a second key subdivision, between ‘solved’30 and open cases.
UNLIREC researches examined both solved and open cases. A detailed explanation of Researcher #1 Researcher #3
how the second dataset was built follows:

To process and systematise such large amounts of raw data in only two weeks,
UNLIREC designed a social science ‘production line’ where each researcher had an
exclusive task, and all tasks were linked in a sequential circular order. That is, Researcher Select & Organize Examine Documentation
#1 would locate all evidence packages that fit under the scope of the study, district Evidence Packages
by district and would then hand over a determined evidence package to Researcher Type Findings
#2. Researcher #2 would then open the box or envelope and remove all evidential Register Processed
contents from the package, whether ballistics evidence or official documentation, Evidence Packages
or both. Researcher #2 would then proceed to examine the ballistics evidence and
circulate the official documents to Researcher #3, who would examine, in parallel, Handover Evidence Packages
any and all documentation available. To aid in the extraction of data from ballistics to National Authorities
exhibits, Researcher #2 relied upon UNLIREC’s Ammunition Gauge31, magnifying
glasses, a microscope, and a dirt-removing brush. After assessing both the physical
evidence and the documents, Researcher #2 would read aloud the data extracted
from each individual piece of physical evidence to Researcher #3, who would type
the findings in an Excel Workbook. Researcher #3 would also type, in the same Excel
Workbook, any public security-related a extracted from the documentation available.
The data extracted from both the physical evidence and documents is the one
mentioned in the above Scope segment, making up the second dataset.

4 5
Finally, to conclude, Researcher #3 reviewed systematized data from that particular Generic health and safety measures for
evidence package, Researcher #2 would repackage, reseal, and re-stamp the
evidence box or envelope. As soon as this process was completed, Researcher
researchers collecting and examining small-calibre
#3 would hand over the package to Researcher #1. To assure meticulous record- ammunition:
keeping and transparency, Researcher #1 would then note, in an internal document,
the case number, date, district, as well as the number of physical pieces of evidence • In all cases, it should be determined whether
that came from that particular evidence package and the number of physical pieces
of evidence that were put back in their original packaging. This document was
the ammunition is in appropriate conditions
reviewed and signed by a national representative from the Scientific Police and by the for collection at the beginning of the cycle. If it
head of the UNLIREC task force. Original copies are kept at the storage facility in the appears to be defective, it is of vital importance
Dominican Republic, as well as in UNLIREC’s internal filing system. Finally, Researcher to avoid picking it up or handling it until it is
#1 would store that particular evidence package where it was found in the storage
facility, coming full cycle in the production line. Researcher #1 would then restart
examined by a ballistics expert who determines
the cycle by handing over one new evidence package to researcher #2. This process how to proceed and collects it under
was repeated with 1,061 evidence packages, equivalent to the 1,061-armed violence appropriate conditions.
cases that form this second dataset. During this process, personnel from the Ballistics • Ammunition may be contaminated with various
Identification unit of the Scientific Police monitored and supported the work of the
researchers, providing valuable assistance when needed.
chemicals or biological traces; therefore, gloves
(preferably nitrile) should be worn at all times,
The box below describes some of the health and safety measures that UNLIREC along with goggles, face mask, and a protective
adheres to in order to safeguard the physical integrity of those manipulating ballistics suit.
evidence. To replicate the ammunition profiling initiative in public security contexts,
UNLIREC encourages all interested parties to consider and construct upon the health
• In cases of chemical residue, care must be taken
and safety measures, as well as the ‘production line’ methodology. This approach during the collection and handling processes,
allowed for the safe documentation of 4,123 pieces of physical evidence in two weeks. preferably notifying forensic chemistry experts
to assess the risks and carry out a specialized
• In cases of biological residue, care must be
taken to avoid direct contact, thus diminishing
the risk of personal biological contamination.
• Particular care must be taken with spent
cartridges, fired projectiles, and projectile
fragments as they may have sharp edges,
representing a risk of injury, which, in addition,
may be accompanied by a risk of biological
contamination. All spent ammunition
components should be collected and
manipulated with tweezers, in addition to the

6 7
3. RESEARCHERS’ NOTES AND STUDY LIMITATIONS both ammunition found at crime scenes and seized under trafficking charges,
with snapshots of armed violence manifestations in the country. Considering that
While the implementation of the methodology was successful, the collection of UNLIREC researchers were commissioned to focus on patterns of illicit ammunition
information had several limitations that will impose some restrictions upon the analysis proliferation and use, the data has that was classified into general calibre groups
that follows. The main limitations are presented and discussed with transparency and and notes regarding the precise firearm that fired (or can fire) the documented
clarity so that future researches might improve upon this work. rounds have been disregarded. This means that the firearms differentiation that the
analysis will present is of a general nature, only between rifle, shotgun, and handgun
• Headstamp photographs: In-house experience and background literature made ammunition.
clear the importance of photographing each individual piece of physical evidence. It • Profiling, not tracing: One of the positions of this series is that ammunition tracing
is important to take meticulous photographs, because it aids rigorous classification is a productive initiative that could help reduce armed violence, due to the fact
of the exhibit in question, which in turn facilitates profiling and/or ensuing tracing. that it sheds light on the illicit supply chain enabling armed violence. However,
However, UNLIREC researchers only had two weeks to record as representative of this case study will not reach the tracing stages of ammunition research. That is
a sample as possible from the vast universe of evidence that fell under the scope to say, UNLIREC researchers will not pinpoint the precise diversion point nor
of the study; and consistent photographing was time consuming. Therefore, the responsible actors involved in the ammunition recovered from criminal activity in
conscious decision was made to transcribe the data read from the headstamp, rather the Dominican Republic. Hence, the case study will limit its analysis to ammunition
than photographing it, because it allowed for quicker processing times. This results profiling. However, it is also the position of this series that the more comprehensive
in a more representative sample at the expense of categorical documentation of the profile, the closer are the interested parties to tracing illicit ammunition. Only
the exhibits. UNLIREC researches did take some photos of the evidence, but in an in some cases, when the ammunition observed had been marked with the import
illustrative rather than comprehensive manner. codes mandated by law in the Dominican Republic, can UNLIREC researchers cross-
• A representative sample, rather than the entire universe: The dataset of reference the dataset with official sources and identify the commercial entities that
ammunition and its components recovered from crime scenes in 2017 is a were assigned that particular ammunition code. Finally, only in a limited number of
representative sample. It is not, however, the entire universe of ammunition and its cases, headstamp markings from state-owned facilities manufactured for military
components recovered from crime scenes in the Dominican Republic during 2017. supply structures were observed, suggesting plausible leakages from stockpiles.
Similar to the previous limitations, due to time constraints, UNLIREC researchers • Interpretation and judgement calls:
were unable to document the entire existing universe of ballistics evidence stored --To quantitatively measure certain behavioural dynamics involved in armed
at the Scientific Police. Nonetheless, UNLIREC researchers estimate that the violence, which is a complex social phenomenon, some metrics have had to be
sample accounts for more than 50 percent of the existent universe of ballistics simplified. True intentions behind acts of armed violence, for example, are virtually
data recovered in 2017. To ensure that an accurate time series analysis could be immeasurable. However, in an attempt to shed some measurable light on the
conducted, UNLIREC researchers processed the entire universe of 2017 evidence for phenomenon, UNLIREC researchers developed broad categories into which
certain districts. Additionally, at least one case from every month for every location general intentions could be grouped and thus measured. The interpretation of
was processed. See time and geographical distribution of samples in Annex A. perpetrators’ intentions was a judgement call made by researchers based upon
• Police ammunition: In some crime scenes examined, a police intervention reading all documents found in the evidence package.
had taken place. In such cases, investigators and first responders recovered all --In a similar way, some headstamp markings are not unequivocally identifiable
ammunition fired during the event as evidence. Consequently, some exhibit and readily assignable to a determined ammunition manufacturer. For example,
documents in the second dataset belong to law enforcement interventions. manufacturers markings are absent in ammunition marked with import codes.
UNLIREC researchers were not able to differentiate precisely between ammunition In other cases, when assigning a plausible manufacturer based on the markings,
used in criminal activity and ammunition used legitimately by law enforcement. some judgement calls have been made in the analysis. The calls have been
In addition, UNLIREC researchers were not able to reliably identify a standard made based on commonality and general trade patterns, geography, plausibility
ammunition police marking or brand or access complete allotment files of and market availability, as well as other contextual information. Likewise, some
ammunition consigned to law enforcement. Hence, the case study does not ammunition manufacturers produce in different countries, assemble diverse
claim that all ammunition documented was used illicitly, only that the ammunition brand names, and many produce as part of large global conglomerates. Hence,
documented was recovered from crime scenes. UNLIREC researchers were able when determining the Most Likely Country of Origin for observed ammunition,
to document that in at least 88 of the scenes under investigation that make up this the same guidance parameters were used to reach a conclusion.
study, a law enforcement intervention had taken place. From these 88 scenes, 144 --Finally, written reports and files were not always necessarily clear. While UNLIREC
ammunition exhibits marked with the required import code were documented, and researchers were privileged to access and read original documents, both from
an inclusive grand total of 463 pieces of evidence were recovered. crime scenes and trafficking seizures, these written reports were not always
• Firearms differentiation: The case study is an ammunition profiling study, of prepared in a concise or precise manner, which might generate dissimilar

8 9
interpretations depending on the readers. Additionally, most of these documents
were produced on the day of the event. Hence, in many cases these reports were Part II:
put together under incomplete information and/or pressing circumstances. It is
thus entirely possible that upon second examination, the readers’ interpretation
The Dominican Republic public security
would change. It is also entirely possible that as the investigation advances, the context and normative framework. This
information in these reports would be updated. Similarly, it is entirely possible
that reasonable researchers might read the same documents and reach different background is followed by the analysis
conclusions. UNLIREC researchers strived to be as faithful as possible to the
written reports they accessed.
and breakdown of the main datasets in
2017 across the Dominican Republic:
UNLIREC researchers hope that the approach, methodology, and limitations are
discussed so future studies can find enhanced ways to maximize data collection
under time-constraints. • Ammunition Seized at Border Controls
• Ammunition Recovered from Crime Scenes

This section concludes with an Interpretation of the

findings i.e. (trends, patterns, plausible origin(s),
national profile or dynamics identified).

The Dominican Republic public security context presents a high perception of

insecurity, with only 36 percent of the population reporting feeling safe.32 Additionally,
almost a third of the population would consider “taking the law into their own
hands.”33 In 2014, the level of victimization stood at 23 percent, as almost a quarter of
the population revealed to have been victims of crime in the previous 12 months.34 By
2016, the level of victimization was at percent.35

Robberies, or at least the number of police-recorded offences, according to the

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), appear to have increased
considerably in a two-year period, from 2,091 recorded offences in 2012 to 15,005 in
2014.36 Presently, the US Department of State notes that “the most common type of
crime is drive-by robberies (1-2 (usually male) assailants on a motorcycle, scooter, or
even a bicycle) …Often, they stop, one disembarks, and points a handgun at the victim,
demanding valuables.”37 Furthermore, according to Ministry of Interior and Police (MIP)
through their Dominican Republic Citizen Security Observatory (OSC-RD in Spanish)
theft of motor vehicles increased nine percent in 2017 in relation to the previous year,
and theft of firearms also increased, from 685 stolen firearms in 2016 to 723 in 2017.38
An overall increase in robberies might be fuelling the general perception of insecurity.

Nonetheless, in the last seven years of data made available by the OSC-RD, the homicide
rate per 100,000 population appears to have maintained a decreasing tendency, from
26.3 (2011), 23.4 (2012), 20.3 (2013), 18.3 (2014), 16.8 (2015), 16.0 (2016), down to 15.4
(2017).39 The homicide rates from 2016 and 2017 account for, respectively, 1,616 and
1,561 lethal victims, the latter absolute number representing a reduction of more than

10 11
three percent in relation to the previous year.40 If the decreasing tendency holds, the Figure 3
Dominican Republic will have halved homicide rates in the near future.
Homicide rate per 100,000
Additionally, in the last six years of data made available by the OSC-RD, the homicide
rate per 100,000 population perpetrated with firearms, also appears to have population
maintained a decreasing tendency, from 16.3 (2011), 14.9 (2012), 12.8 (2013), 11.5
(2014), 11.2 (2015), down to 9.7 (2016).41
From a different perspective, in 2012, according to UNODC, 64 percent of homicides 23.4
were committed with firearms.42 In 2016, according to the National Police Department
of Information and Statistics, 61 percent of homicides were committed with firearms.43
And, continuing with the decreasing tendency, in 2017, according to the OSC-RD, 20 18.3 16.8
59 percent of homicides were committed with firearms.44 The data presented here 16.0 15.9
constitutes evidence that from 2011-onward, homicides have decreased as have
lethal outcomes caused by firearms.

Still, a number of conflating variables could be driving numerous armed violence lethal 10
outcomes in the Dominican Republic. For example, in 2017, 87 percent of homicide
victims were male, and 49 percent of victims were between the ages of 20 and 34.
Furthermore, weekends and evenings also revealed a disproportionate predisposition
for violence. That is, 39 percent of homicides occurred only between Saturdays and
Sundays, and 38 percent of all homicides occurred between the hours of 18:00 0
and 23:59.45 Additionally, social/interpersonal violence and common crime/criminal 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017**
violence were to blame for most lethal outcomes, representing 51 and 35 percent of
all homicides, respectively.46 It is likely that the outcomes of these conflating variables Figure 4
were made more lethal by the presence of firearms and ammunition. If so, controlling
the supply of firearms and ammunition reaching unauthorized hands could be key to
reducing armed violence lethal outcomes.
Homicide rate per 100,000
population perpetrated with firearms
In effect, that is precisely the approach taken by government of the Dominican Republic,
and the reduction in homicides rates and rates of homicides committed with firearms 20
could be owed, even if partly, to these controls. For example, in 2006 Decree No. 309-
06 temporally banned all imports of firearms, parts, and their respective ammunition 16.3
for the private market47 A year later, Resolution 01-07, signed by the Minister of 14.9
Interior, lifted that prohibition, but all legally imported ammunition to be marked
by the manufacturer or importer.48 A comprehensive firearms legislation enacted
in 2016, 631-16, would permit the importation of ammunition under the condition
11.5 11.2
that only sanctioned commercial armories, strictly regulated, could introduce some
calibers.49 These measures are explained in more detail in the following section, but
they seem to demonstrate that having in place a complete and coherent regulatory
framework for firearms and ammunition control is a crucial tool to prevent of illicit
trafficking and its consequent impact on armed violence. Illicit trafficking certainly 5
demands a response that cannot be dealt dealt with solely by using legal tools; rather,
these tools must form part of a comprehensive context of people-centred public
security measures. However, when it comes to imposing regulations that authorize or
prohibit determined activities, the state must turn to the instrument of law. Only in this 0
way can the state legitimately and effectively exercise the coercive powers inherent in 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Source: Dominican Republic Citizen Security Observatory

12 13
it. And the evidence seems to suggest that the regulatory framework of firearms and • Being at least 30 years old at the time of the application
ammunition controls adopted by the Dominican Republic is working. • Produce documents demonstrating the licit origin of the weapon
• Produce a certificate of aptitude on the use of firearms
2. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NORMATIVE FRAMEWORK AND IMPORTING • Produce a health certificate issued by a mental health professional
REQUIREMENTS • Absence of criminal records
• Posess a civil liability insurance
The National and international commerce of firearms and ammunitions in the Dominican • In the case of companies, being legally incorporated and providing the name of its
Republic, as well as the possession and use of those elements, is scrupulously regulated legal representative.
by several legal provisions dictated both by Congress and the Executive Branch.
Finally, before issuing any license, a ballistic fingerprint of the weapon must be made
Law 631-16 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials constitutes in the ballistic laboratories authorized by the MIP59.
the cornerstone of the Dominican arms control legal system. As a general principle,
Law 631-16 states that all activities related with commerce, possession and use of Marking and Importing of Ammunition
firearms and ammunitions are conditioned upon the issuance of a license.50 In that In July 2006, imports of weapons and ammunition into the Dominican Republic were
sense, article 14 tasks the Ministry of Interior and Police (MIP) with the responsibility of forbidden by a presidential decree60. After a comprehensive census of Dominican
overseeing that petitioners fulfil the legal requirements prior to issuing those licenses. gun-shops, the ban on ammunition imports was lifted in December 2007. However,
all importers are required to mark the ammunition immediately after the elements
Classification of firearms and ammunition within the Dominican Legal arrive to the Dominican Republic.
According to law 631-16, firearms and ammunitions are divided into three categories): According to article 5 of the MIP Resolution 01-07, marking must consist of a four-
forbidden, restricted and fit for civilian use. character alphanumeric code. The first two characters shall always be “RD”, that is
to say, the initials of the country. The third character will identify the name of the
Forbidden51 elements are those, which cannot be legally sold or bought under importing gun-shop61, whereas the fourth designates the specific batch. By enacting
any circumstance. On the other hand, the elements deemed fit for civilian use52 this marking requirement, the Dominican authorities’ thus enhance the traceability of
are those that citizens can legally purchase in gun shops, provided they have the ammunition and prevented diversion and illegal trafficking.
adequate license. Finally, restricted53 elements are those than can only be purchased
and used by the military or security forces. The MIP, with the assistance of the Each and every import of ammunition to the country must be carried out through
Ministry of Defense, is in charge of sorting the weapons and ammunitions into the the gun-shops authorized by the MIP. Gun shops must posess a commercial
aforementioned categories.54 and importing license, but they must also inform the IMP of every transaction
and apply for a specific authorization when it comes to importing weapons and
Classification of the Licenses ammunitions.62 Furthermore, they must comply with able to comply with the
There are three kinds of licenses: private, commercial and official. Private requirements imposed by the Customs Office, among them, the possession of a
licenses55 authorizes the possession of those firearms and ammunitions that are fit for low-risk importer certificate.
civilian use. Official licenses56 are only granted to a defined universe of high-ranking
public officials and authorize the possession of both restricted and fit for civilian use The transport and delivery of ammunition boxes to the armories is the responsibility
elements. Commercial licenses57, in turn, are subdivided according to the purpose of the Warfare Material Division, Dominican Armed Forces.
of the applicant: importing, intermediation, for the use of private security providers
and for national retailers operating within the country. All of which are required to Commercialization of Ammunition
apply for a specific permit. In order to legally sell ammunition within the Dominican Republic, gun shops must
obtain a commercial license. Additionally, they must keep a detailed inventory of its
Commercial licenses can be granted both to individuals and companies. All licenses stocks and inform the MIP of all sales and acquisitions on a weekly and monthly basis.
expire one year after the date of issuance and can be renewed as many times as
possible, provided all legal requirements are duly fulfilled. Purchasing of Ammunition by Individuals
According to Law 631-16 article 26, only those individuals possessing a firearm
Eligibility Criteria duly registered are legally able to purchase ammunition in those gun shops already
Law 631-16 outlines a number of mandatory requirements for issuing a license. Some authorized to commerce with guns by the MIP. Besides, it is mandatory to have a valid
of the most relevant include58: license, whether official or private.

14 15
Ammunition rounds are for the exclusive use of the purchaser and cannot be re-sold. Figure 5

Flow of seized ammunition

Authorized armories must keep a record of the amount of ammunition sold and the
identity of the client.63

Operations in which the State is the Final User

In cases whereby the ammunition is destined for use by the security forces, imports
must be done exclusively through a public bidding process. Intermediaries are
excluded from bidding and only manufacturers are allowed to submit an offer.64


3.1 Analysis of ammunition seized at border controls during 2017:

According to the DGA files, in 2017, in the Dominican Republic, 15,898 complete
rounds of ammunition belonging to 48 separate trafficking cases were seized at
89% 11%
Inflow Outflow
border controls. The analysis of ammunition seized at border controls during 2017 will
be divided into two general sections: public security observations and ammunition-
specific observations. Figure 6

Public Security Observations: Country of Origin

Out of the 48 trafficking cases, UNLIREC researchers determined that 89 percent
of the 36 cases with relevant information available, had an inflow route; that is to
say, had entered into the Dominican Republic. Out of the 33 cases whereby it was
possible to determine the country of origin, considering both outflow and inflow
cases, 85 percent of smuggling attempts originated in the USA.

Further disaggregating these 33 cases, UNLIREC researchers were able to categorise

29 cases with an inflow route and four with an outflow route. Out of the 29 cases

85% 12% 3%
whereby it was possible to determine both the flow and the country of origin, 97
percent of all inflow smuggling attempts originated in the USA. Similarly, albeit with
a much smaller sample, out of the four cases whereby it was possible to determine
both the flow and the country of destination, 100 percent of all outflow smuggling USA Dominican Republic Spain
attempts had the USA as the intended destination. These findings suggest that the
broad trend of illicit ammunition trafficking both into and out of the Dominican Figure 7
Republic is usually associated with an accomplice inside the USA, particularly Florida
and New York. Inflow: Country of Origin
From the 48 cases, only two modalities of entry points seemed to have reported seized
ammunition: airport and port controls (including containers in warehouses, inland/
dry ports, and entrepôts), representing, respectively, 40 and 60 percent. From the
examined files, UNLIREC researchers did not find documented cases of ammunition
seized at land checkpoints at the border with Haiti, nor at postal offices. Interestingly,
from these seizures, four general concealment modalities were identified. Out of
these concealment modalities, more than half of the cases were found in containers

97% 3%
and more than a third in passengers’ luggage, representing 58 percent and 33
percent, respectively. In the two cases, representing 4 percent of the sample, when
ammunition was exclusively concealed in a parcel, these were seized at airports rather
than postal offices, because the consignments were sent via air cargo.65 USA Spain

16 17
Figure 8 In all cases, it was possible to identify the entry or exit district where the attempt to

Border entry point smuggle ammunition was intercepted. According to these files, the majority of cases
were intercepted in Santiago (15 cases or 31 percent), followed by Haina (14 cases or
29 percent), and Santo Domingo (10 cases or 21 percent).

In 45 cases it was possible to identify the gender of the trafficker(s). Men were solely
responsible for trafficking in 53 percent of cases, women were exclusively responsible
in 18 percent of cases, and in 29 percent of cases both men and women acted in
cahoots. Hence, in 82 percent of these cases, at least one man was involved, whereas
in 47 percent of these cases at least one woman was involved.

60% 40%
Maritime Ports Airports

Figure 9

Concealment Method

58% 33% 4%
Containers Luggage Parcels

Figure 10

Entry / Exit District Ammunition-specific observations:

16 According to the DGA files, in 2017, in the Dominican Republic, 15,898 complete
12 rounds of ammunition belonging to 48 separate trafficking cases were seized at border
10 53% 10% controls. These numbers offer a ratio of around 330 rounds of ammunition seized per
interception. However, the ratio is skewed due to a few trafficking cases with outlying
4 90% 71% large quantities of ammunition. Hence, the median might be more representative
100% 100% by illustrating the amount in rounds of ammunition more frequently seized. The
median of this sample is 100 units. Out of the 15,898 rounds of ammunition seized,
Santiago Haina Santo Puerto Plata Caucedo Punta in most cases, UNLIREC researchers were able to determine the calibre. The shotgun
Domingo Cana
calibres accounted for the largest share followed by the 9mm calibre, representing,
47 percent of the seizures (7,505 rounds) and 28 percent (4,504 rounds), respectively.
Airports Containers in warehouses Ports The distribution of seized calibres per rounds were as follows:

18 19
Figure 11 Interestingly, 9mm calibre ammunition was seized in 27 independent cases, whereas

Gender of trafficker the shotgun calibres were seized in only 14 cases. In other words, the DGA caught almost
two times as many attempts to traffic 9mm than shotgun calibres. Nonetheless, the
latter calibre accounted for more seized live rounds than the former. Hence, it might
be that attempts to smuggle 9mm ammunition are carried out in smaller quantities
than attempts to traffic shotgun calibres, yet attempts to smuggle 9mm ammunition
are more recurrent. In addition, it is important to note that several trafficking attempts
were not limited to one calibre. That is, in 15 out of the 48 interceptions (31 percent),
documented by UNLIREC researchers, more than one calibre was seized.

One related observation was the large number of air-rifle pellets seized at border

53% 29% 18%

Male Both Female
controls by national authorities. While it is not clear why these particular items are
being trafficked into the country, numerous interceptions of this good are occurring.
UNLIREC researchers did not compile exact data on air-rifle pellets, because they fell
outside the scope of this study, but the number of pellets seized in 2017 at border
control is well into the thousands.
Figure 12
From the DGA files, UNLIREC researchers were not able to reliably identify and
Calibres per rounds assign a determined manufacturer to a determined amount of ammunition seized.
However, from the manufacturers identified, Winchester ammunition was the most
47% repeatedly intercepted brand followed by Remington, accounting for ten and seven
independent cases, respectively.
6000 28%
2000 7% 6% 4% 4% Number Likely Country
3% 1% 0.20% 0.06% Brand and/or Manufacturer
0 of Cases of Manufacture
12GA+ 9mm .380” .22” .38” .40” .45” N/A .25” 7.62
16GA (9x19) (9x17) mm
+20GA Winchester 10 USA
Remington Arms Company 7 USA
#rounds % of total
Federal Premium Ammunition 5 USA
Aguila 2 Mexico
Figure 13
American Eagle 2 USA
Calibres per cases Blazer 2 USA
Elite Performance Ammunition 1 USA
9mm (9x19) 27%
12GA+16GA+20GA 14%
.45” 5% Hornady 1 USA
.38”(9x17) 5% Magtech Ammunition Company/CBC 1 USA
.22” 4% Monarch 1 Serbia
.380” 4%
Perfecta 1 Italy
.40” 3%
PMC (Poongsan Metal Manufacturing Company) 1 South Korea
7.62 mm 1%
Speer 1 USA
.25” 1%

N/A 2% TulAmmo 1 Russia

20 21
Contrary to the small-calibre ammunition recovered from crime scenes, in most Figure 14

Intentions per case

cases, ammunition seized at border controls seems to have been intercepted in the
factory boxes. According to the DGA files, it appears that in approximately 69 percent
of the trafficking cases intercepted, the ammunition was seized in boxes, whereas only
in 31 percent of cases did the ammunition appear in loose form. This finding opens
the door for future research efforts. In other words, subsequent efforts must attempt
to gain access to the actual physical evidence of border controls interceptions as it
is likely that the majority will be found in their factory boxes; and, original boxes are
usually marked or contain the required information to facilitate tracing and outline the
supply lines feeding the illicit market. If this finding provides a pattern, then tracing
small-calibre ammunition seized at border controls is entirely within reach.66

In addition to the DGA files, UNLIREC researchers were shown the tallies of seized
ammunition by the Dominican Republic Division of Military Intelligence.67 According
39% 25% 20% 7%
Homicides + Theft + common N/A Others (accidents +
to this tally, 24,123 rounds of ammunition were seized in the national territory in 2017. attempted crime suicides + kidnapping)
The disaggregated data, however, was not available at the time of publication. homicides

What this case study intends to show, beyond a description of the dynamics that are
inherent to ammunition trafficking, is that there are, at least, 24,123 good reasons a
year to enhance ammunition controls. If it were not for the efforts of the national
authorities, at least, 24,123 rounds of ammunition would have entered the illicit supply
chain in 2017. And, as will be become clear in the section that follows, it is exponentially
better to intercept illicit ammunition than to recover it from a crime scene.

3.2 Analysis of ammunition recovered from crimes perpetrated during 2017:

The analysis of ammunition recovered from crimes perpetrated in 2017 will be divided
into two general sections: public security observations and ammunition-specific
Firearms abuse
Recovered +
observations. The observations that follow are based on the analysis of 4,123 pieces found
of ballistics physical evidence (cartridge cases, bullets, and full ammunition rounds)
from 1,061 separate crime scenes in the Dominican Republic in 2017, as well as the
analysis of the accompanying documents.
Figure 15
Public security observations:
UNLIREC researchers’ interpretation of the intentions per crime scene determined
Outcomes per case
that 39 percent of the 1,061 cases were motivated by homicidal attempts, 25 percent
due to theft or common crime, and 6 percent as impromptu run-ins or brawls that
resulted in the abuse of a firearm.68 In two percent of cases, a suicide attempt was
presumed to have taken place by the reporting official upon arrival at the scene.
UNLIREC researchers were not able to establish a motivation in 20 percent of the
cases evaluated.

50% 33% 15% 2%

The analysis of physical outcomes per case reveal that in 33 percent of the 1,061
cases studied, the crime resulted in at least one death. Additionally, in 50 percent
of the cases, the crime resulted in at least one injured person. Considering that only
initial reports were studied, it is entirely possible that an injured person would later die Injuries Death N/A Material damage
from the bullet wounds that were initially reported as injuries. In sum, it is striking that
in at least 83 percent of cases, there was consequential bodily harm harm suffered

22 23
by at least one person. UNLIREC researchers also determined that in 2 percent of the Figure 16

Gender of perpetrator per case

cases there was meaningful material damage or loss. It is noteworthy that, in percent
of cases, the outcome of the crime was unclear.

Out of the 618 cases whereby identification of the gender of the perpetrator was
possible, in at least 98 percent of cases, men pulled the trigger, whereas women acted
alone in only one percent of cases. Moreover, in the remaining one percent of cases
both a man and woman had acted in tandum. Hence, in 99 percent of these crime
scenes, at least one man was involved. This finding suggests that armed violence is
closely connected to gender roles, pointing to a toxicity in masculinity.

Out of the 969 cases whereby identification of the gender of the victim was possible,
in 87 percent of cases the direct victim was a man, in percent of cases. The direct
victim was a woman. Moreover, in 5 percent of cases, both men and women were
98% 1%Men Both
direct victims. Hence, in 92 percent of cases, at least one man was the direct victim
of armed violence. This finding reiterates the prior observation and accentuates
the association of men with armed violence as both the overwhelming majority of Figure 17
perpetrators and victims.
Gender of victim per case
Out of the 732 cases whereby was possible to identify the time of the criminal act,
69 percent of cases occurred between sunset and sunrise (19:01-07:00), whereas 31
percent occurred between sunrise and sunset (07:01-19:00). This finding suggests
that criminal activity occurs more frequently at night that during daylight hours.

For UNLIREC researchers, it was only possible to document and systematize all
ballistics evidence from all crimes committed throughout 2017 in a few districts. In
most districts, it was only possible to document and systematize a sample number of
cases per month. Based on the data collected, only three districts presented conditions
for a relevant temporal analysis: a threshold of more than ten crimes and complete
documentation of the evidence recovered throughout the entire year. In two out of
87% 8%Men Women
these three districts, the monthly distribution per cases reveal a higher number of
crimes perpetrated with firearms during the first half of the year than in the second Figure 18
half. This finding is consistent with the OSC-RD report, which notes that the first half of
2017 was indeed more violent. Distrito Nacional reports a higher absolute number of
crimes than Barahona/Neyba or La Altagracia/Higuey, likely because it is considerably
Time distribution per cases
more populated. Distrito Nacional is also a fully urban context and a major industrial
centre, whereas the other two districts are less so. It is also noteworthy that the 318
cases documented in same comment represent approximately 30 percent of the
total crime scenes documented for this case study.

69% 31%
Sunset-Sunrise Sunrise-Sunset
(19:01-07:00) (07:01-19:00)

24 25
Figure 19
Cases per month - Distrito Nacional (2017)

29 29 28 28 31
21 24 22 23 25 21

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Figure 20
Cases per month - Barahona/Neyba (2017)

4 4

2 2
1 1 1 1 1
0 0 0
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Figure 21
Cases per month - La Altagracia/Higuey (2017)

5 5
3 3
2 2
1 1
0 0 0
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

26 27
Ammunition-specific observations: Figure 22
Out of the 1,061 crime scenes studied, 4,123 pieces of ballistics physical evidence
(exhibits) were recovered, presenting a ratio of around 3.89 exhibits per crime Distribution of ammunition samples
scene. Out of the total 4,123 pieces of physical evidence recovered, 84 percent were
cartridge cases and three percent full rounds of ammunition, equivalent to 3,478 and
115 exhibits, respectively. The remaining 13 percent of ballistics evidence recovered
were bullets, equivalent to 530 exhibits. For the purpose of this profiling case study,
bullets offered limited relevant information as most were severely damaged or
fragmented. Thus, most of the analysis that follows will focus exclusively on the
87 percent of the sample made up of recovered cartridge cases and full rounds
of ammunition, which is equivalent to 3,593 exhibits.

Out of these 3,593 exhibits, approximately 97 percent of cartridge cases were made
of non-ferrous alloys (mostly brass casings, and some aluminium), and the remaining
84% 13%
Cartridge cases Bullets
Full rounds
three percent were ferrous alloys (mostly steel casings), representing 3,468 and 125
exhibits of physical evidence, respectively. This might suggest that only around three
percent of ammunition recovered from crime scenes in 2017 was produced in former Figure 23
Eastern Bloc or Warsaw Pact countries, as the identified manufacturers of ferrous
cartridge cases from the sample (TulAmmo and WOLF probably by Tula Cartridge
Works, POBJEDA Technology, and Novosibirsk Low Voltage Equipment Plant) were
Non-ferrous vs. ferrous
likely manufactured in such countries.69

Production years
Out of the 3,593 exhibits, only around 5 percent, equivalent to 179 exhibits, were
marked with production years. Prominently, markings that identified the production
year as 2005 were the more recurrent ones, followed by markings identifying
production years of 2016 and 2014. In the table that follows, production years where

97% 3%
no markings were found were omitted.

Year of Year of Year of Non–ferrous Ferrous

# # #
Manufacture Manufacture Manufacture

1978 5 1997 1 2010 3

1979 2 1998 1 2011 2
1981 2 2000 1 2012 8
1984 2 2001 6 2013 9
1985 7 2003 1 2014 20
1986 4 2004 10 2015 2
1991 3 2005 32 2016 23
1992 1 2006 2 2017 15
1994 4 2008 7
1996 3 2009 3 TOTAL 179

28 29
Import codes P Macrotech 0
Moreover, out of these 3,593, only 26 percent, equivalent to 944 exhibits, were
marked with the mandated four-letter code upon import. These exhibits can be RDQC Q Armería Guinea S.A. 1 0.11%
grouped according to the third letter in the headstamp code, which corresponds to R Inversiones Palium 0
the importing commercial armoury. This grouping shows where the ammunition - Armería Defensa y
found at crime scenes and marked with the mandated country code - was imported RDSA; RDSD S 164 17%
through. The following table reveals that over a third of this subsample originated
from a single armoury.
T Armería Oliva 63 7%
Third Number
Percentage RDUA U Armería La Mocana 4 0.42%
Complete letter in Importing armoury with of
of the
import code headstamp the assigned letter exhibits V Rio Tala 0
code collected
W Artiex 0
TOTAL 944 100%
Armería Peralta &
A 0
Compañía Country code Importer
RDBA B Armería Metropolitana 39 4% code
C Armería E.R.M 0
RDDM D Armería Impacto 2 0.21%
E Armería Carandaí 0
F Armería P.S & Asoc. 0
G Armería Dominicana 166 18%
RDHK; RDHL; Armería Nicolás Yunes e
H 102 11%
Almacenes Riad & Nicolás
I 0 Calibre
J Tejada Álvarez & Asoc. 325 34%
K Armería Heptágono, S.A. 0
Armería Tu Close &
RDLA L 3 0.32%
M Armería Casa Nelson 0
N Armería Angleca 0
Armería Montas &
Ñ 0
RDOL; RDOM; O Armería M&R, S.A. 75 8%

30 31
Further disaggregating this data, ammunition marked with the mandated four-letter RD SA 161 17%
code could also be grouped according to the fourth letter, which corresponds to S
the import lot brought into the country by the armoury assigned the preceding third RD SD 3 0%
letter. This grouping reveals that the lot marked ‘JB’ accounted for over a quarter of RD TA 25 3%
ammunition, marked with the mandated four-letter code, found at crime scenes in RD TB 3 0%
2017. Furthermore, the lots marked ‘SA’ and ‘GD’ corresponded to 17 and 16 percent
RD TC 1 0%
of this sample. In total, 59 percent of the sample corresponded to just three lots.
T RD TD 2 0%
RD TE 9 1%
Third letter in Complete import Number of exhibits Percentage of the RD TR 19 2%
headstamp code code per complete code sample
RD TT 4 0%
U RD UA 4 0%
B RD BA 39 4% TOTAL 944 100%
D RD DM 2 0%
RD GC 3 0% UNLIREC researchers were able to cross-reference three of these codes against
RD GD 147 16% official import records authorized by MIP. Thus, it was possible to identify the amount
G imported, calibre, exporter, importing armoury, and -in one case- exclusive authorized
RD GE 2 0%
RD GF 14 1%
RD HK 73 8% • RD HL: Armoury ‘H’ imported 2,200 boxes of 12 gauge shot shells with 250 rounds
RD HL 27 3% in each box, for a total of 550,000 units. The permit was granted on 5/5/2016
H and the ammunition was bought from Saga, S.A in Spain. UNLIREC researchers
RD HO 1 0%
documented 13 exhibits recovered from crime scenes perpetrated in 2017 that
RD HS 1 0% corresponded to this lot. Moreover, an additional 14 exhibits were found with this
RD JB 246 26% four-letter code, but the latter were .38” ammunition. Overall, cartridges with this
RD JC 9 1% four-letter code were found at 19 separate crime scenes, while most of these crimes
J occurred around the capital area.
RD JF 67 7%
• RD SD: Armoury ‘S’ imported 500,000 rounds of 5.56 ammunition. The permit
RD JG 3 0% was granted on 7/6/2016, while the lot was consigned exclusively to the National
L RD LA 3 0% Police. Out this lot, UNLIREC researchers documented three spent cartridge cases
recovered from one scene under investigation in 2017.
RD OD 10 1%
• RD UA: Armoury ‘U’ imported 550,000 rounds of 12 gauge shot shells. The permit
RD OE 2 0% was granted on 31/1/2017, while the ammunition was bought from Saga, S.A in
RD OJ 20 2% Spain. Out this lot, UNLIREC researchers documented four exhibits recovered from
RD OK 2 0% two separate crime scenes in 2017 around the capital area.
RD OL 1 0% Marking codes in documented law enforcement interventions
RD OM 9 1% Notably, in 88 scenes under investigation, out of the total 1,061 documented scenes,
RD OT 10 1% UNLIREC researchers were able to identify that a law enforcement intervention had
taken place. From these 88 scenes, 463 individual pieces of ballistics exhibits were
RD OU 14 1%
recovered. Cross-referencing the documented police interventions against exhibits
RD OV 4 0% with import codes yielded a subsample of 144. The analysis of this subsample reveals
RD OX 3 0% a fundamentally similar distribution to the above tables. This is important, because
Q RD QC 1 0% it suggests that commercial armouries with a larger presence in the subsample
are likely providers to law enforcement. Certainly, with a distribution pattern that

32 33
incudes police forces, it is expected that these markings codes outnumber those that Figure 24

Samples per calibre group

are destined exclusively to civilians. It is also important to note that in the general
sample, there are likely more police interventions that UNLIREC researchers were
unable to identify.
3500 100%
85.94% 90%
Marking codes in documented law enforcement interventions 80%
2500 70%
Percentage of Percentage of
Third letter in Four-letter Number of 60%
code from this third letter from 2000
the code code exhibits found 50%
sample this sample
1500 40%
1000 30%
B RD BA 6 4% 4% 500
4.45% 3.45% 2.45% 10%
1.86% 1.84%
RD GD 13 9% 0 0%
G 10%
RD GE 1 1% 9mm .38” .380” 12GA 5.56 mm Other
(9x19) (9x17) +16GA handgun
RD HK 10 7% +20GA calibres
H 8%
RD HL 2 1%
RD JB 39 27% Number of cartridges % of cartridges
J 37%
RD JF 14 10%
RD OD 2 1% Figure 25
RD OJ 5 3%
RD OK 1 1%
9% Bullets identified per calibre group
RD OT 5 3% 60 74% 80%
S RD SA 37 26% 26% 70%
RD TA 7 5% 60%
T RD TC 1 1% 6% 50%

RD TR 1 1% 30 40%

TOTAL 144 100% 100% 20


14% 20%
10 8%
Groping by calibres 4% 10%
Regardless of import codes, or lack of thereof, the entire documented sample can 0 0%
be grouped by calibres as follows. Out of the sample of 3,593 exhibits, composed of 9mm .38” .380” (9x17) 32”
spent cartridge cases and complete rounds of ammunition, approximately 86 percent (9x19)
of physical evidence found at crime scenes corresponded to 9mm (9x19) ammunition.
The second largest group was the revolver calibre .38”, corresponding, approximately,
to four percent of the sample. Revolver ammunition might be considerably frequently Number of cartridges % of cartridges
present at crime scenes, because - once fired - the spent cartridge cases stay in
their chamber, whereas in pistols (or submachine guns), the spent casings are
ejected. However, it is remarkable that 96 percent of the exhibits recovered came
from handguns (possibly some from submachine guns), and just about 2 percent,
respectively, from shotgun calibres and the rifle calibre 5.56x45 (standard NATO
cartridge). UNLIREC researchers did not encounter the 7.62mm calibre.

34 35
Furthermore, from the 530 bullets recovered, the calibre of 74 well-preserved exhibits As presented in the analysis above regarding DR Import Codes, 26 percent of the
was identified by national firearms examiners in their forensic ballistics reports (around sample was marked with the mandated four-letter code. Without access to all import
14 percent). The calibre of a fired bullet recovered from a crime scene can be identified records and allotment documents, it is not possible to determine the manufacturer
by competent firearms examiners when matched, under a comparison microscope, and likely country of manufacture, which produced those exhibits as the four-letter
to the test fires from a specific firearm. Experts examine rifling: numbers of lands import code trumps brand markings in the headstamp. The Top 11 Manufacturers
and grooves and the direction of the twist, firing pin impressions, and any and all table of spent cartridge cases and full rounds of ammunition recovered from crime
individual characteristics of the specimens under comparison. The outstanding 456 scenes in 2017 follows:
bullets were not confidently identifiable due to the damage upon impact or to the
fact that only fragments were recovered. The largest group was again the 9mm (9x19)
ammunition, but, in comparison to spent cartridge cases and full rounds, bullets do Top 11 Manufacturers
show an increase in the presence of different handgun calibres. The distribution of
identified bullets follows: Likely country of
of exhibits Likely brand/manufacturer Percentage
Top 11 manufacturers
From the 3,593 exhibits (spent cartridge cases + full rounds of ammunition) recovered
from crime scenes in the Dominican Republic, including all recorded calibres,
the Aguila ammunition, manufactured in Mexico, accounts for the largest share, 928 DR Import Markings Not identifiable 26%
representing 17 percent of the sample. Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC) 593 Aguila México 17%
ammunition, manufactured in Brazil, accounts for the second largest share of any one Companhia Brasileira de
particular brand, representing 8 percent of the sample. This is important, because 284 Brasil 8%
Cartuchos (CBC)
it suggests that the two most prominent brands of ammunition recovered from
269 Winchester / Olin Corporation USA 7%
crime scenes were manufactured in Latin America and thus directs attention
to the regional trade in ammunition. These two brands alone accounted for 25 Federal Premium Ammunition /
241 USA 7%
percent, a fourth, of the entire sample. Vista Outdoor, Inc
208 BLAZER / Vista Outdoor, Inc USA 6%
The recurrent presence of US ammunition manufacturers is also noteworthy, with 182 Sellier & Bellot / CBC Czech Republic 5%
four brands at the top of the ranking. From the Top 11 Manufacturers table alone, it
is clear that at least 25 percent of the ammunition recovered from crime scenes in 178 Remington Arms Company, Inc. USA 5%
2017 was manufactured in the USA. This accounts for another fourth of the entire 95 Prvi Partizan Serbia 3%
sample. In sum, ammunition manufactured in the Americas (Mexico + Brazil + USA) Fiocchi Munizioni / Giulio
accounts for at least 50 percent of the entire sample, reinforcing the prior observation 89 Italy 2%
Fiocchi Holding
regarding regional ammunition trade.
526 Others (41 manufacturers) Multiple 15%
3,593 TOTAL 100%

A dissagregated analysis of selected calibres and/or headstamp markings follows.

Cross analysis of ammunition found at crime scenes:

NATO ( )
Just over one percent of cartridges recovered from crimes scenes seemed to have
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cross head-stamped ( ). In other
words, 47 exhibits out of 3,593 were likely originally manufactured for the NATO
supply structure. Out of the exhibits with the NATO cross, 89 percent were 9mm
(9x19) ammunition, and 11 percent 5.56x45mm. These exhibits also had the year of
manufacture, and all identified exhibits were produced after 1996.

36 37
Number of exhibits Number of exhibits 2001. Additionally, these two ‘TZZ’ cartridges were also used in the above-mentioned
Manufacture Manufacture robbery of a person transporting a large sum of currency.
with NATO cross with NATO cross
year year
( ) ( )
In two separate crime scenes, a total of nine 5.56x45mm ammunition head-stamped
‘IMG’ were recovered, likely indicating manufacture by the Industria Militar de
Unidentifiable 1 2011 1
Guatemala.74 These nine exhibits were dominated by accompanying markings of
1996 3 2012 2 ‘85’ and ‘91’, indicating production years of 1985 and 1991. Four of the ‘IMG’ head-
1997 1 2013 9 stamped exhibits were also recovered in the above-mentioned robbery of a person
2000 1 2014 7 transporting a large sum of currency. The other five exhibits were recovered from a
neighbouring district, in a scene under investigation where a group fired at a person’s
2001 5 2015 2 house at least 17 times with 5.56x45mm ammunition, and 12 times with 9mm (9x19)
2005 3 2016 8 ammunition.
2008 1
2009 1
From five different crimes scenes, ten 5.56x45mm recovered exhibits were found
2010 2 Total 47 to have ‘LC’ and the year of manufacture head-stamped, which might suggest
production at the Lake City Ammunition Plant.75 This plant supplies ammunition to the
NATO-marked ammunition was found in 31 independent cases. Markedly, 65 percent US government and its allies.76 Two of these exhibits had the ‘86’ marking, indicating a
of cases containing ammunition marked with the NATO cross occurred in the capital production year of 1986, and were found in the above-mentioned robbery of a person
area (Distrito Nacional, Santo Domingo Este, Norte, and Oeste, and Boca Chica). transporting a large sum of currency. One other exhibit, also with the ‘86’ marking,
However, the presence of the NATO cross does not necessarily suggest diversion was found in the neighbouring district where a group had fired at a person’s house
from military stockpiles nor even that the original ammunition was used, since at least 29 times. Altogether, the ten ‘LC’ head-stamped ammunition recovered had
head-stamped NATO cartridges are often reloaded and sold, cartridges rejected by marking years of 1984 (2 exhibits), 1985 (1), 1986 (4), and 2005 (3).
inspectors are sold as “seconds”, and/or surpluses could also be sold commercially.70
5.56x45mm ammunition
IMI Overall, 5.56x45mm ammunition exhibits were documented 66 times in seven
From five different crime scenes, six 9mm (9x19) spent cartridge recovered were different crime scenes, representing 1.84 percent of the total cartridges and full
head-stamped ‘IMI’, which likely stands for Israel Military Industries.71 In a sixth crime rounds recovered. Out of the 5.56x45mm subsample, only three exhibits could be
scene, a single 5.56x45mm exhibit head-stamped with ‘IMI’ was recovered. This rifle attributable to police forces, because the documented RD SD headstamp code was
cartridge was also marked with the NATO cross and a ‘01’, indicating a production cross-referenced to allotment documents. Considering that this calibre is not available
year of 2001. This ‘IMI’ head-stamped rifle cartridge was recovered from the robbery to the civilian market and is used by armed forces, their presence in public security
of a person transporting a large sum of currency. This crime reported several injured contexts suggest that leakages from stockpiles have occurred in the past in either the
persons and had, at least, 44 spent cartridges recovered from the crime scene, fired Dominican Republic or overseas. In addition, the fact that two different crime scenes,
from no less than three different firearms. A total of seven IMI-marked exhibits were in neighbouring districts, with more evidence than average, presented this calibre
recovered from six different crime scenes. and the ammunition was head stamped with military-oriented production markings,
might indicate that the perpetrators had a higher than average level of organization.
In addition, five 9mm (9x19) spent cartridges with the headstamp marking ‘TZ’ were A criminal group with a high level of organization might, in turn, further suggest a
recovered from crime scenes. Those letters seem to indicate that the ammunition sophisticated illicit supply chain, one that could include accessing ammunition
was manufactured exclusively for Israeli forces by the IMI.72 These five exhibits were originally manufactured for military structures.
also head-stamped ‘78’, which likely indicates a production year of 1978. Furthermore,
two 5.56x45mm cartridge cases marked ‘TZZ’ were recovered from a crime scene, The analysis and notes presented here are insufficient to confidently point to diversion
and that marking seems to indicate that the ammunition was manufactured for from military stockpiles. Nonetheless, the headstamp markings, while inconclusive,
military customers outside of Israel.73 These two ‘TZZ’ head-stamped cartridges suggest that improved management of military stockpiles is desirable, and production
were also marked with the NATO symbol and ‘01’, indicating a production year of years dating from 30 years ago could be evidence of the need to reduce old stocks.

38 39
5.56x45mm ammunition 9mm (9x19) ammunition
Overall, 3,088 9mm (9x19) exhibits were documented in numerous crime scenes,
Number representing almost 86 percent of the entire cartridges and full rounds recovered.
Likely country of % of 5.56x45mm
of exhibits Likely manufacturer From the 9mm ammunition subsample, the identified brand with the largest presence
manufacture from subsample
recovered is Aguila, manufactured in Mexico, accounting for 18 percent of the subsample.
Curiously, Aguila was also the most recurrent brand found in the 5.56x45mm
ammunition subsample. Aguila 9mm (9x19) ammunition is followed by Companhia
Federal Premium Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC), manufactured in Brazil, representing 8 percent. In
Ammunition addition, Sellier & Bellot ammunition, owned by, yet manufactured in the Czech
3 Remington Arms Company Republic, accounted for 6 percent of the subsample. In sum, these three names
USA 39%
account for almost a third of the 9mm subsample.
4 Winchester
11 Lake City Ammunition Plant 9mm (9x19)
13 Aguila Mexico 20%
9 Industria Militar de Guatemala Guatemala 14% of exhibits Likely brand/manufacturer Percentage
9 WOLF Russia 14% recovered
3 Israel Military Industries Israel 5%
3 RD SD Import Markings77 Unidentified 5%
827 DR Import Markings 27%
3 Unidentifiable Unidentified 5%
568 Aguila 18%
66 100%
245 Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC) 8%
233 Winchester / Olin Corporation 8%
194 BLAZER / Vista Outdoor, Inc 6%
184 Federal Premium Ammunition / Vista Outdoor, Inc 6%
172 Sellier & Bellot / CBC 6%
160 Remington Arms Company, Inc. 5%
68 Fiocchi Munizioni / Giulio Fiocchi Holding 2%
59 Prvi Partizan 2%
52 X-Treme 2%
326 Others (29 manufacturers) 11%
3,088 TOTAL 100%

It is also worth noting that the sum of the brands which likely manufacture in the
USA, account for 32 percent of the subsample, almost another third of the total 9mm
ammunition recorded (USA-manufacturers accounting for one or less than one
percent of the 9mm subsample have been included in Others the table above). Out of
the US-manufactured ammunition, the most present brands, in order of recurrence,
are Winchester, Blazer, and Federal Premium Ammunition. The latter two brands are
likely part of the same conglomerate.

It is important to note that 27 percent of the 9mm sample was marked with the
required four-letter import code and thus no brand or manufacturer markings could

40 41
be identified in those headstamps. It is presumed that, as implementation time 4. QUALITATIVE OBSERVATIONS (A WINDOW INTO THE SOCIETY)
regarding import marking requirements advances, the share of ammunition marked
with the four-letter code will increase. From the police reports and other documents accompanying the 1,061 cases of
armed violence reviewed by researchers, several dynamics stood out, because of their
Finally, as with the 5.56x45 ammunition sample detailed above, Israeli Military recurrence. While UNLIREC did not compile quantitative data on these dynamics, it
Industries markings were also present in the 9mm ammunition subsample, albeit seems important to share some qualitative observations, even if only for anecdotal
on a much smaller scale. A second military-oriented production marking identified or background information. UNLIREC researchers consider that the following are
was the Compañía Anónima Venezolana de Industrias Militares (CAVIM) on just one marked characteristics of armed violence in the Dominican Republic in 2017 and
sample. The 9mm table organized by likely country of manufacture follows: deserve public attention:

9mm (9x19) • Many homicides were carried out with by an astonishing low level of organization,
with impromptu violence continuously leading to the loss of life and injuries.
Number These seemed to be committed in two main scenarios: brawls exacerbated by the
of exhibits Likely country of manufacture Percentage presence of alcohol, and traffic disputes. In both scenarios, men were usually the
recovered perpetrators. The presence of firearms in such incidents increased the lethality of
the outcome.
• The practice of two perpetrators on a single motorcycle (one driving and one armed
986 USA 32% on the passenger seat) to commit both robberies and homicide attempts seemed
to be a practice by criminality. Motorcycles were also noted as a recurrent runaway
827 DR Import markings 27%
568 Mexico 18% • Stray bullets are a continuous threat to life, with children often as victims. Many
245 Brazil 8% stray bullets made their unwelcomed way into a house through fragile building
172 Czech Republic 6% materials, suggesting a higher impact in households with lower purchasing power.
Additionally, stray bullets seemed to occur more frequently in densely populated
68 Italy 2% sectors, reinforcing the prior observation.
68 Russia 2% • Some criminals deliberately pursued armed victims, or, put otherwise, carrying a
59 Serbia 2% firearm might be a liability for personal security. It seemed that killings motivated
by the sole purpose of stealing the victim’s firearm is a common occurrence. This
21 Unidentifiable 1%
seemed true for private owners, police officers, and particularly for private security
18 Philippines 1% providers. It was the case that many private security guards, standing watch and
16 South Korea 1% even outside of working hours, were killed to be robbed of the assigned firearm.
Similarly, some house robberies appeared to have been motivated by the presence
12 Germany 0%
of firearms in that household.
11 Israel 0% • There appeared to be high visibility of firearms in daily life. According to
6 Finland 0% witnesses’declarations and police, it seemed clear that the presence of firearms in
5 Hungary 0% societal interactions has been normalized. Going further, for some men, firearms,
3 Bosnia 0%
2 Turkey 0%
1 Venezuela 0%
3,088 TOTAL 100%

For a disaggregated look at the remaining calibres recovered from crime scenes
perpetrated in the Dominican Republic in 2017, with assigned brands/manufacturers
and likely country of manufacture, please refer to Annex B.

42 43
at times, seemed to reflect power and elevated social status. Such widespread
presence of firearms in societal interactions might have increased the lethality of
conflating variables and impromptu lethal outcomes. The conflating variables
that might be coalescing and driving numerous lethal outcomes are usually a
combination of one or more of the following: men, 20-34 age group, firearms,
ammunition, alcohol, weekends, late hours, and impromptu social disputes.
• Police reports often seemed to be acquainted with the perpetrator. In many initial
reports, the first responding police officer had already identified a suspect, often by
a nickname. This may suggest that certain localities have been repeatedly victimized
by a determined perpetrator, and this person is known to law enforcement
• There seems to be a thriving domestic market for firearms’ parts and components to
modify and/or fix the ones in circulation, as well as the expertise to do so. Transfers
in this market are not necessarily carried out in illegality given that many armouries
are well equipped with spare parts and components.78 This might be an unforeseen
and unfortunate consequence of the ban on new firearms imports.
• Many lethal outcomes or injuries were alleged to have been caused by accidental
discharges, often from a firearm in the household.
• Firearms in the household seemed to have been frequently employed to commit
acts of gender-based violence, as well as suicides.
• Several full rounds of ammunition found at crime scenes were struck by the firing
pin, often more than one time, but the projectile had not been discharged. This was
evident from the various marks left by the firing pin upon hitting the primer. This
could mean that some firearms in circulation have a timeworn firing pin or that the
ammunition was old or poorly stored. It could also mean that the cartridge had been
reloaded. If true that the firearm had a timeworn firing pin or was poorly repaired,
this observation reinforces the above-mentioned impression that there is a thriving
domestic market for repairing older firearms. Or, if true that this ammunition had
been reloaded, it could indicate that it was done with a low-quality primer. This It is the hope of researchers that future efforts aimed at disrupting armed violence
could suggest a growing non-industrial market for reloading cartridge cases. Finally, can measure and describe these dynamics in greater depth to find effective ways to
if it is the case that the ammunition was old, it might suggest that there is a market combat their negative impact on society.
for old ammunition to circumvent import marking requirements upon import.
• Firearms examiners from the Dominican Republic reported that certain 5. KEY FINDINGS, TRENDS, AND ANALYSIS
manufacturers’ headstamp markings were obstructing adequate imaging
acquisition and comparison in the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS). In • More than half of illicit ammunition trafficking cases were concealed inside
particular, examiners noted a headstamp mark by CBC, which the IBIS continuously containers. This should give port authorities further evidence to enhance container
tries to acquire as a firing pin impression or individual characteristic, when in fact controls technical inspections and continue building upon their risk-assessment
it is not. UNLIREC researchers contacted the technology provider and learned mechanisms.
that this particular mark misleads the IBIS acquisition algorithm. Currently, the way • The majority of ammunition trafficking cases into the Dominican Republic seem to
to overcome the obstruction is to use an ‘ignore sticker’ on top of the marking, follow a pattern: ammunition is shipped from the USA, mostly New York and Florida,
but, together with the factory marking, all characteristics under the sticker will also using commercial freight companies and declared as personal consignments.
be ignored during the information acquisition. As such, valuable individualizing Considering that seized ammunition at border controls seems to be, more often
characteristics are unavailable for the comparison. To facilitate the work of than not, intercepted while still in the factory boxes, closer examination of these
firearms examiners and the justice system, either the technology provider could would enable accurate tracing and further disaggregated data concerning inflow
consider enhanced corrective measures or the ammunition manufacturer could trafficking patterns.
stop branding ammunition with such headstamp marking. For a picture of this • Ammunition interceptions reported to the DGA seem to only be happening at
headstamp markings in the IBIS, please see below: airports and ports. Considering that it is unlikely that these are the only entry points

44 45
or modalities exploited by traffickers, other border control checkpoints should
either increase vigilance or improve reporting to the DGA. Part III:
• In 33 percent of crime scenes studied, the crime resulted in at least one death.
This finding suggests a high lethality in criminal incidents. A high lethality might be
Main conclusions and policy
associated with the overwhelming prevalence of 9mm (9x19) ammunition. Further recommendations for improving public
briefing papers and case studies in The Series will compare this hypothesis against
public security contexts with reduced access to this calibre. security.
• 74 percent of the applicable sample of ammunition found at crime scenes was not
marked. This finding might suggest that stocks from years before the law came into
effect are still being sold and used, and there is ineffectual enforcement of marking
This section concludes the paper giving
requirements on new imports. consideration to Moving forward: a world of
• Ammunition marked with the third letter “J” represents more than a third of the possibilities.
subsample of ammunition, marked with the mandated headstamp code, found
at crime scenes. This finding suggests that either the JB lot in particular was 1. MAIN CONCLUSIONS + POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS: WHICH
disproportionately larger than other authorized lots, or that its distribution pattern COMPLEMENTARY INTERVENTIONS SEEM APPROPRIATE?
is causing this code in particular to be found at crime scenes at a higher rate than
other legally imported ammunition lots. Out of the two plausible options, the • Enforcing ammunition marking policy:
distribution pattern proposition is the most likely. This is because a comparison National control authorities must ensure that every single cartridge sold at
between ammunition found at crime scenes where police interventions were known distributors and commercial armouries is marked as established by law. It
to have taken place against import codes yielded an almost identical distribution seems that there is still a considerable amount of ammunition rounds available
to the general analysis of the subsample, where armoury J had the largest share with no import marking codes, likely stocked by private users or commercial
and the code JB was the most recurrent. Therefore, it is possible that armoury J is a armouries from years before the law came into effect. This is evident from the
frequent provider to police forces. 74 percent of the relevant sample found unmarked, as well as from UNLIREC visits
• At least 96 percent of calibres found at crime scenes came from handguns to different commercial armouries. National authorities could consider imposing
(possibly some from sub-machine guns), with the 9mm (9x19) ammunition the marking requirement retroactively. As such, no law abiding distributor or
representing -alone- around 86 percent of the sample. It is thus, by overwhelming commercial armoury would be able to introduce new unmarked ammunition
majority, the most common calibre found at crime scenes. As such, controls over to the market.
this ammunition ought to be tightened. At the same time, this finding suggests that
restrictions and/or controls over rifle ammunition are effectively supressing their In addition, improving record-keeping will aid in providing crucial intelligence to
presence at crime scenes. facilitate cross-referencing and tracing once marked ammunition is found at a
• Production years marked into headstamps can be indicative of the role old crime scene.
stockpiles might have in enabling armed violence. If ammunition manufactured in
1978 is found at crime scenes today, it must be interpreted as evidence of the • Extending ammunition marking policy:
need to minimize surplus and old ammunition stocks. Furthermore, headstamp Ammunition acquired by all law enforcement and military forces could also
markings of military-oriented manufacture suggest that leakages from be marked with import codes. Ideally, with an alphanumerical combination to
stockpiles have occurred in the past, either domestically or overseas. As such, differentiate it from civilian ammunition. If this becomes the case, all ammunition
this should be taken as further evidence of the need to reduce surplus and old legally imported into the country could be identifiable and traced back to the
military ammunition stockpiles. importing entity. Additionally, ammunition found at crime scenes with no import
• Ammunition manufactured in just three countries, USA, Mexico, and Brazil, codes could be interpreted as an immediate red flag or indication of illicit trafficking.
accounted for at least 50 percent of the entire sample of spent cartridge cases and
full rounds recovered from crime scenes in 2017 in the Dominican Republic. This extension of the marking policy could be established by either modifying
• In both subsamples of 5.56x45mm and 9mm (9x19) ammunition, Aguila accounted existent legal frameworks or enacting new regulations to make import marking
for the largest share by any one particular ammunition brand or manufacturer. compulsory for state security forces, as it is for the civilian market. To implement this
However, in both subsamples, the USA accounted for the largest share of the most policy, it is important to demand headstamp (or groove) markings, while defining
likely country of manufacture. This is because different US-manufacturing brands technical specifications, during ammunition acquisition/procurement processes
were found and their addition resulted in the largest share for one single country, carried out by state security forces at no additional cost to the buyer. Important
whereas Aguila was the only one manufacturer identified from Mexico.

46 47
to note that marking ammunition by lots entails no significant production cost to update their risk-profile of incoming shipments and ensure that protocols and
manufacturing companies. procedures maximize their resources (both equipment and human capacities).
The reports prepared by the DGA seem like an ideal starting point to collect
• Strengthening legislation to limit ammunition rounds acquired by Private big-picture data regarding seizures of illicit goods at border controls. Once
Security Companies (PSC) and private owners: data on trafficking modalities and patterns are identified and disaggregated, the
Strengthening legislation to limit the amount of ammunition rounds that are information could be used to tailor intelligence-led inspections and aid in the
acquired by PSCs and private owners seems like a critical follow-up step to the maximization of resources.
established marking practices. This measure could be accompanied by a reporting --Providing specialized equipment and training at entry points with a focus on x-ray
mechanism to monitor and enforce authorized users to not exceed, and to not identification of firearms, ammunition and parts and components. Increased
access the number of rounds approved per individual and do not access calibres national resources should be directed towards high-quality x-rays for inspecting
different than those permitted in the firearms license. Additionally, this reporting containers and parcels at maritime entry ports, but also enhanced and recurrent
mechanism should ensure proper record-keeping of all ammunition rounds sold by training for both maritime ports and airport entry and exit control personnel and
commercial armouries, which could help supervise that no unmarked ammunition authorities (60 percent of cases documented by UNLIREC researchers were
is sold. Limiting the the number of rounds sold to PSCs and private users, would seized at ports, and 40 percent at airports). Usually, x-ray identification training
require close coordination between government authorities responsible for has focused either on drugs or explosive devices and, often commonly, countries
overseeing PSCs and those regulating firearms and ammunition controls in a in Latin America and the Caribbean have relied on “exporting” country authorities
broader manner. to stop the illicit flow of firearms, ammunition, and parts and components. To
combat the influx of illicit firearms and ammunition, periodic specialized trainings
• Standardizing ammunition marking at the regional/sub-regional level: focused on intercepting firearms, ammunition, and parts and components are
A consultative process or dialogue ought to be initiated to address standardized needed at all entry points and addressed to personnel from all levels. Increased
ammunition marking practices at the regional and/or sub-regional level. Agreeing resources for technological equipment and human capabilities should be directed
upon a common framework for marking practices would be essential to further with particular urgency to districts suffering elevated rates of armed violence.
delineate illicit ammunition supply chains. Definition and acceptance of country
codes in headstamps, as well as detailed alphanumerical codes, would help identify • Tracing factory boxes intercepted at border controls:
illicit ammunition flows and provide evidence or justification for appropriate policy It is possible that ammunition seized at border controls, if still in the original
responses. factory boxes, might have key information needed for tracing. It is of paramount
importance to access the actual seized physical evidence to collect this sort
The Dominican Republic - as a leader and pioneer of good ammunition marking of primary data. While there are no guarantees of success, if a data collection is
practices in the region - could consider chairing this regional initiative and sharing its attempted, a detailed profile of the illicit supply chain (Who sold it? Who bought it?
implementation experience and lessons learned, the technical expertise acquired, Where was it made? To what lot does it belong? Was it assigned to security forces
as well as the resulting impact in reducing armed violence, to generate a catalytic or sold commercially?) and responsibility borne by the actors involved might begin
movement of good ammunition marking practices across Latin America and the to form. Tracing small-calibre ammunition would constitute a giant step in the field
Caribbean. UNLIREC stands ready to assist the government of the Dominican of ammunition research, and could provide key intelligence for enhanced border
Republic in this effort. As a starting point, interested parties can consult directly control inspections, as well as evidence for sensible policy responses.
with UNLIREC to access a copy of a technical proposal for ammunition marking
practices developed in-house.79 • Addressing the culture of toxic masculinity and conflating variables:
Men represent the overwhelming majority of both perpetrators and victims of
• Enhancing security at entry points: armed violence. National authorities could continue reducing armed violence with
--Approaching the UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control evidence-based education campaigns targeting men. These campaigns could start
Programme (CCP): national customs authorities could consider assistance from by pointing out that carrying a firearm will not necessary have favourable conditions
the UNODC-WCO CCP. Collaborating with this joint initiative could further for personal security and might even be detrimental. Additionally, reducing the
enhance national maritime ports control detection capabilities of illicit goods. This presence of firearms in society could lessen the lethality of the conflating variables
initiative seems particularly relevant as most ammunition as most ammunition that seem to be driving numerous firearms-related lethal outcomes. To continue
being trafficked is likely concealed in containers. It would also send a strong reducing the visibility and presence of firearms in society, gun-free zones should be
dissuading message to potential traffickers. expanded and enforced with zeal in localities that serve alcohol and remain open at
--Establishing special protocols and procedures for parcels and containers sent night. In addition, restricting access to firearms where there is alcohol consumption
through shipping companies: Port authorities should continue to constantly ought to be a national priority.

48 49
• Understanding the 9mm as a weapon of mass destruction: replicated and kept alive in order to continue generating big-picture intelligence,
The evidence is clear: 9mm (9x19) ammunition was found at the overwhelming which assist efforts across the region aimed at reducing armed violence.
majority of crime scenes in the Dominican Republic. The 9mm handgun should
be considered, looking at the cumulative effect, a weapon of mass destruction. Halving armed violence is well within our reach, but only a combination of disaggregated
In any case, the 9mm is too readily available. National authorities could start by data, adequate analysis and willingness to address change will keep progress alive.
cracking down on the local market for repairing or modifying firearms in order to Political will and contributions from all levels of society will be paramount in this effort.
remove some from circulation. Detection and interception capabilities for firearms The UN system stands ready to provide support in promoting and maintaining peace
parts and components at border controls should be further enhanced as it is and security to achieve this common goal. Because, as previously noted, ending
likely that the perceived thriving market for repairing and/or modifying older criminal use of ammunition is owed to the millions of lives taken by bullets, and to
9mm handguns is facilitated by an illicit influx of parts and components from those for whom bullets have taken a part of their life.
abroad. Additionally, the ban on new imports should be maintained.

• Strengthening legislation for a better control of ammunition acquired by

private security companies and the civilian market:
Establish legislation to control ammunition acquired by PSCs and civilian owners
and put in place mechanisms to monitor and enforce users to not exceed numbers
of rounds approved per individual and to not access types of calibers different to
those approved in their firearms licenses. Additionally, proper registration of rounds
and calibre of ammunition sold by dealers should be carried out and adequate
coordination should take place between government authorities responsible for
PSCs and those responsible of ammunition control.


In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) most lethal outcomes are perpetrated
with firearms and occur on an individual basis, but given the continuous recurrence,
the cumulative effect is massive. Put otherwise, the effect of firearms-related
violence is of mass destruction in slow-motion. Just like public insecurity, firearm
and ammunition illicit proliferation and use have escaped the urgent care merited.
But, if firearms-related violence in public security was taken with the same degree
of seriousness and concern that weapons of mass destruction, it would make a
world of difference. Likewise, it would open up a world of possibilities. A world of
possibilities because it would save an ocean of unnecessary human suffering and
would begin to pay the posthumous debt owed to those for whom bullets have
stolen their lives.

The analysis and conclusions presented here are based on the premise that progress
begets progress. One small step in the right direction creates the momentum for
the next right step, and keeping this virtuous cycle moving forward strengthens the
security sector ecosystem. This Briefing Paper aims to identify dynamics affecting
public security to recommend complementary measures to assist in current national
efforts. But it is just another small step to keep the momentum going in the reduction
of armed violence in the Dominican Republic. This Briefing Paper must be construed
upon two levels to keep the virtuous cycle turning. At the local level, this exercise
must be expanded so that policymakers can further access disaggregated data, which
will assist in directing policy prescriptions. At the regional level, the effort must be

50 51

Annex A

Map with location and time: where

and when evidence was collected?














Region Police District Municipality Region Police District Municipality

Distrito Nacional Distrito Nacional

Gran Santo Domingo North Gran Santo Domingo North
Gran Santo Domingo Gran Santo Domingo
Santo Santo Domingo West Santo Santo Domingo West
Domingo Santo Domingo East Domingo Santo Domingo East
Santo Domingo East Boca Chica Santo Domingo East Boca Chica
Santiago Santiago
La Vega La Vega
Salcedo Salcedo
Montecristi Montecristi
Dajabón Dajabón
Samaná/Las Terranas Samaná/Las Terranas
North Puerto Plata North Puerto Plata
Region Moca Region Moca
Nagua Nagua
Cotuí Cotuí
San Francisco Macorís San Francisco Macorís
Bonao Bonao
Monteplata Monteplata
Valverde Mao Puerto Plata
San Cristobal Valverde Mao
San Cristobal Haina San Cristobal Haina
Barahona / Neyba San Cristobal
Azua Barahona / Neyba
Baní Azua
South San Juan de la Maguana South Baní
Region San José de Ocoa Region San Juan de la Maguana
La Altagracia o Higüey San José de Ocoa
Villa Altagracia La Altagracia o Higüey
Jimaní Villa Altagracia
Elías Piña Jimaní
Pedernales Elías Piña
La Romana Pedernales
Hato Mayor La Romana
Bávaro Hato Mayor
East East
Punta Cana Bávaro
Region Region
Juan Dolio Punta Cana
San Pedro Macorís Juan Dolio
El Seibo San Pedro Macorís
El Seibo
All existing At least one evidence Non existent
evidence processed processed All existing Non existent
evidence processed

52 53
NOTES 37. US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Dominican Republic 2017 Crime & Safety Report: Overall Crime and Safety
Situation. Accessed on: 30/04/2018. <https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=21470>
1. Small Arms Survey, Global Focus: Ammunition Profiling, <http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/about-us/highlights/highlights-2014/ 38. Observatorio de Seguridad Ciudadana República Dominicana, Informe Estadístico sobre Seguridad Ciudadana OSC-IE 026: Boletín
focus-ammo.html> Accessed on: 21/04/2018 Estadístico Enero-diciembre 2017, Feb. 2018, pp. 16-17. <http://mi.gob.do/observatoriodeseguridadciudadana/index.php>
2. According to the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, 74 percent of all armed violence lethal outcomes occur 39. Observatorio de Seguridad Ciudadana República Dominicana, Tasa de homicidios por cada 100 mil habitantes, Ministerio de
in public security contexts as intentional homicides -Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, Global Burden of Armed Interior y Policía, nov. 2017. Accessed on: 2/05/2018. <http://mi.gob.do/observatoriodeseguridadciudadana/index.php/publicaciones/
Violence 2015: Every Body Counts, Chapter 2. Lethal Violence Update, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2015, p. 51. <http://www. indicadores?showall=> ** Rate for 2017 on graph was a projection based on data from the first semester, published in November of 2017. The
genevadeclaration.org/fileadmin/docs/GBAV3/GBAV3_Ch2_pp49-86.pdf> study cited below, published in February 2018 (p.5), confirms that the rate for 2017 was 15.4, less than the projection.
3. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Global Study on Homicide 2013, March 2014, pp. 125-127. <https://www. 40. Observatorio de Seguridad Ciudadana República Dominicana, Informe Estadístico sobre Seguridad Ciudadana OSC-IE 026: Boletín
unodc.org/gsh/> Estadístico Enero-diciembre 2017, Feb. 2018, pp. 2-5. <http://mi.gob.do/observatoriodeseguridadciudadana/index.php>
4. The Economist, The Costs of Latin American Crime, February 25, 2017. <https://www.economist.com/news/americas/21717439- 41. Ibid. Tasa de homicidios con armas de fuego por cada 100 mil habitantes.
many-governments-are-failing-their-most-basic-task-costs-latin-american-crime> 42. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UNODC Statistics Online: Percentage of homicides by mechanism (2000-
5. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers a rate of 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants or higher to be characteristic of 2015). Accessed on: 30/04/2018. <https://data.unodc.org/>
endemic violence. 43. Policía Nacional, Departamento de Información y Estadísticas, Homicidios según el tipo de arma utilizada, 2016.
6. Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal A.C., Metodología del ranking (2017) de las 50 ciudades más violentas 44. Observatorio de Seguridad Ciudadana República Dominicana, Informe Estadístico sobre Seguridad Ciudadana OSC-IE 026: Boletín
del mundo, March 6, 2018, pp. 3-4. <http://www.seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx/biblioteca/prensa/send/6-prensa/242-las-50-ciudades-mas- Estadístico Enero-diciembre 2017, Feb. 2018, p. 6. <http://mi.gob.do/observatoriodeseguridadciudadana/index.php>
violentas-del-mundo-2017-metodologia> 45. Observatorio de Seguridad Ciudadana República Dominicana, Informe Estadístico sobre Seguridad Ciudadana OSC-IE 026: Boletín
7. Igarapé Institute, Citizen Security in Latin America: Facts and Figures, by Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre Tobón, April 2018, p. Estadístico Enero-diciembre 2017, Feb. 2018, p. 5. <http://mi.gob.do/observatoriodeseguridadciudadana/index.php>
6. <https://igarape.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Citizen-Security-in-Latin-America-Facts-and-Figures.pdf>. Important to note that 46. Ibid. p. 6.
Igarapé Institute seems to count Puerto Rico as Latin America, UNLIREC, in its geographical scope, for this study, does not. Thus, while the 47. República Dominicana, Decreto No. 309-06.
headline in the publication cited says 43 of the 50 most homicidal cities in the planet were in Latin America, UNLIREC only counts 42. 48. República Dominicana, Ley 631-16.
8. Laura Jaitman and Nicolas Ajzenman, Crime Concentration and Hot Spot Dynamics in Latin America, Inter-American Development 49. República Dominicana, Resolución 01-07
Bank, IDB Working Paper Series, No. IDB-WP-699, June 2016. <https://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/7702/Crime- 50. Law 631-16, art 13, Spanish text available at: https://www.scribd.com/document/361824815/Ley-631-16-de-Armas
Concentration-and-Hot-Spot-Dynamics-in-Latin-America.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y> 51. Law 631-16, art 3, num 14
9. Igarapé Institute, Citizen Security in Latin America: Facts and Figures, by Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre Tobón, April 2018, p. 8. 52. Law 631-16, art 3, num 11
<https://igarape.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Citizen-Security-in-Latin-America-Facts-and-Figures.pdf> 53. Law 631-16, art 3, num 15
10. Small Arms Survey, Ammunition Tracing Kit: Protocols and procedures for recording small-calibre ammunition, June 2008, p. viii. 54. Law 631-16, art 8
<http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/D-Book-series/book-06-ATK/SAS-Ammunition-Tracing-Kit.pdf> 55. Law 631-16, art 16, num 1
11. James Bevan, Blowback: Kenya’s Illicit Ammunition Problem in Turkana North District. Occasional Paper 22. Small Arms Survey. June, 56. Law 631-16, art 16, num 9.
2008, p. 77. <http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/B-Occasional-papers/SAS-OP22-Kenya.pdf> 57. Law 631-16, art 16, num 2
12. Pierre Martinot and Ilhan Berkol, The Traceability of Ammunition, Groupe de Recherche et D’Information Sur la Paix et la Security, 58. Law 631-16, art 14
2008/9, p. 13. <http://archive.grip.org/en/siteweb/images/RAPPORTS/2008/2008-9_EN.pdf> 59. Law 631-16, art 21, Parr. III
13. United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG), IATG 01.40:2015(E), 60. Decree 309-06
UN SaferGuard IATG project, 2nd edition (2015-02-01). <https://unoda-web.s3-accelerate.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/assets/ 61. For a list of the codes assigned to every gun-shops authorized to import please see section 2.3.2.
convarms/Ammunition/IATG/docs/IATG01.40.pdf> 62. Law 631-16, art 33
14. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their 63. Law 631-16, art 31
Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, A/RES/55/255 64. Law 631-16, art 32
(8 June 2001). <https://www.unodc.org/pdf/crime/a_res_55/255e.pdf> 65. It seems important to note that other trafficking cases attempted smuggling via parcels, but when these where seized at containers,
15. Robert E. Walker, Cartridges and Firearm Identification (Advances in Materials Science and Engineering), p. 115. researchers noted containers as the concealment modality rather than parcels.
16. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Definition of Headstamp. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headstamp> 66. Conflict Armament Research, Weapons of the Islamic State, Dec. 2017, p. 18. <http://www.conflictarm.com/publications/>
17. In this regard, a special mention must be made to James Bevan and Jonah Leff for their past and ongoing research efforts, and the 67. Exchanges between UNLIREC researchers and national authorities.
support, advise, and expertise lent to UNLIREC for this study. 68. UNLIREC researchers classified a case as ‘homicide + attempted homicide’ when the documentation suggested that the primary
18. Conflict Armament Research, Weapons of the Islamic State, Dec. 2017, p. 18. <http://www.conflictarm.com/publications/> motivation of the perpetrator was to inflict bodily harm to the victim and activated the firearm expressly and purposefully towards that end,
19. Bearing in mind the roadblock, the case studies presented in this series explore different opportunities to bridge this gap in information. whereas in ‘theft + common crime’, the primary motivation was to commit a robbery and the perpetrator activated the firearm in support of the
20. Instituto Sou da Paz, Arsenal Fluminense: análise das apreensões de munições no estado do Rio de Janeiro (2014-2017), Sep. 2017. primary criminal intention. This ‘primary motivation’ criterion was also used to classify ‘kidnappings’, of which only one case was documented.
<http://www.soudapaz.org/upload/pdf/an_lise_das_muni_es_apreendidas_no_rio_de_janeiro_isdp.pdf> Moreover, UNLIREC researchers decided to classify a case as ‘firearms abuse’ when there was no premeditated criminal intention of any sort,
21. Ibid. p 6. yet the perpetrator activated the firearm in a social interaction and harmed a victim. UNLIREC researchers created the category of ‘Recovered
22. James Bevan, Blowback: Kenya’s Illicit Ammunition Problem in Turkana North District. Occasional Paper 22. Small Arms Survey. June, + seized’ to group those scenes under investigation where first responders were called in but events that unfolded were not immediately clear,
2008, p. 66. <http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/B-Occasional-papers/SAS-OP22-Kenya.pdf > and the ammunition exhibits were recovered from the area or from a person involved or somehow related to the event. The category ‘N/A’
23. James Bevan and Pablo Dreyfus, Chapter 9 ‘Enemy Within: Ammunition Diversion in Uganda and Brazil’ in Small Arms Survey, denotes the cases with absolutely no contextual or supplementary information. The categories ‘Accident’ and ‘Suicide’ were used to denote
Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 289–315 <http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/ scenes under investigation when, upon arrival, the first responding officer presumed or was told that an accident or suicide had occurred.
fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2007/en/full/Small-Arms-Survey-2007-Chapter-09-EN.pdf> UNLIREC researchers are aware that the difference between categories is nuanced and most cases would legally constitute homicide or
24. Nicolas Florquin and Jonah Leff, Chapter 6 ‘Across Conflict Zones: Ammunition Profiling’, in Small Arms Survey, Small Arms Survey attempted homicide, yet still thought that adding a grading scale, as subjective as this may be, to the intentions behind criminal violence would
2014: Women and Guns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 208. <http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A- contribute, even if slightly, to the field of public security research. UNLIREC is aware that other stakeholders can look at the same information
Yearbook/2014/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2014-Chapter-6-EN.pdf> and reach completely different, yet completely valid, conclusions.
25. Samuel Paunila and Andrew Hole, Ammunition Safety Management: preventing Loss of Life and Property, and Diversion from 69. Exchanges between UNLIREC researchers and technical experts. Also, see Robert E. Walker, Cartridges and Firearm Identification
Stockpiles, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, COUNTER-IED REPORT, Jan. 2016, p. 89. <https://www.gichd.org/ (Advances in Materials Science and Engineering), p. 54. And, N.R. Jenzen-Jones, Following the Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre
resources/publications/detail/publication/ammunition-safety-management-preventing-loss-of-life-and-property-and-diversion-from- Ammunition Documented in Syria, Small Arms Survey, Small Arms Survey Working Paper 18, April 2014, p. 24. <http://www.smallarmssurvey.
stockpiles/#.WuS05tPwZAY> org/fileadmin/docs/F-Working-papers/SAS-WP18-Syria-Headstamp-Trail.pdf>
26. N.R. Jenzen-Jones, Following the Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre Ammunition Documented in Syria, Small Arms 70. Robert E. Walker, Cartridges and Firearm Identification (Advances in Materials Science and Engineering), p. 118.
Survey, Small Arms Survey Working Paper 18, April 2014, p.13. <http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/F-Working-papers/SAS- 71. Robert E. Walker, Cartridges and Firearm Identification (Advances in Materials Science and Engineering), p. 137. Important to note, in
WP18-Syria-Headstamp-Trail.pdf> 2005, Israel Military Industries changed name to Israel Weapon Industries.
27. Ibid. p. 14. 72. Ibid.
28. Conflict Armament Research, Weapons of the Islamic State, Dec. 2017, p. 6. <http://www.conflictarm.com/publications/> 73. Ibid.
29. UNLIREC urges caution with the interpretations and conclusion put forward in this case study. While the information extracted from 74. Ibid. p. 136.
the sample offers little potential to be misleading, the interpretation of it can be open to discussion and not all stakeholders might agree with 75. Orbital ATK, Product Specification Sheet, M855 Ball fact sheet, <https://www.orbitalatk.com/defense-systems/small-caliber-
UNIREC’s conclusions. Other researchers can look at the same data and reach completely different, yet absolutely valid, conclusions. systems/5-56mm/docs/PS001810%20(M855).pdf>. Accessed on: 10/05/2018.
30. Solved meaning that all ballistics evidence from that case had been identified and matched to a firearm. In the context of the Ballistics 76. Orbital ATK, Defense Systems - Small Caliber Systems, <https://www.orbitalatk.com/defense-systems/small-caliber-systems/>.
Identification unit from the Scientific Police, solved does not necessary mean that perpetrators were brought to justice. Accessed on: 10/05/2018.
31. UNLIREC’s Ammunition Gauge assists in calculating the dimensions of the ballistics exhibit in question because it has several diameter 77. In most cases, if not all, when the ammunition headstamp has been marked with the mandated four-letter code, there are no
measures to identify the calibre as well as a ruler to calculate the length of the cartridge under examination. This gauge also has a magnet manufacturers branding nor production year marked.
which rapidly identified if a cartridge is ferrous or non-ferrous. 78. UNLIREC researchers visited several armories and took notes of present market availability.
32. Igarapé Institute, Citizen Security in Latin America: Facts and Figures, by Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre Tobón, April 2018, p. 79. UNLIREC, Propuesta Técnica para la Marcación de Municiones Argentina, (2013), p. 13. Full text available from UNLIREC upon request.
10. <https://igarape.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Citizen-Security-in-Latin-America-Facts-and-Figures.pdf>
33. Ibid. p. 38.
34. Igarapé Institute, Citizen Security in Latin America: Facts and Figures, by Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre Tobón, April 2018, p.
31. <https://igarape.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Citizen-Security-in-Latin-America-Facts-and-Figures.pdf>
35. Ibid. p. 10.
36. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UNODC Statistics Online Robbery at the national level, number of police-
recorded offences. Accessed on: 30/04/2018. <https://data.unodc.org/>

54 55
United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development
in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lima, Peru.

With the support of the governments of Germany and the Dominican Republic