The Justice Department says terrorists in the Paris attack that killed 130 did not use a firearm previously sold by a Delray Beach gun wholesaler, disputing an Associated Press story released Dec. 9. In fact, the gun is not even in Europe; it’s in Mexico.
Federal authorities say the M92 semi-automatic pistol in question traces back to a crime scene in the Latin American country and is now in the custody of the Mexican government. The story first broke on VPR, Vermont’s National Public Radio station, late Thursday. Century Arms has a manufacturing and distribution center in the “Freedom and Unity” state.
The result for Century Arms is a vindication of sorts since the company said Dec. 11 that it couldn’t confirm reports that the gun ended up in Paris. But it underscores that guns passing through Century Arms end up south of the border where they are often the weapon of choice for drug cartels.
The Justice Department release contradicts an Associated Press story citing Milojko Brzakovic, a Serbian arms factory chief, as saying a semi-automatic pistol found in the carnage of the Paris attacks carried a serial number matching one of the guns the Zastava arms factory delivered in May 2013 to Century Arms.
“After further investigation of the firearm mention(ed) in the Associated Press story, it is clear the firearm reported in previous stories is not related to the Paris attacks,” U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Danette Seward wrote in an email to Century Arms lawyer Brady Toensing obtained by The Palm Beach Post.
Toensing released a statement to VPR blaming the AP for the story.
“At a minimum, the AP should have waited for a response from the United States government. And it should have performed an elementary-level review of the United States import laws, which require that all firearms imported into the United States have specific markings on them,” the lawyer said. “Performing proper due diligence and verifying whether the firearm had the required United States import markings should have been, but was not, done before reporting this story.”
The AP issued a correction on Friday:
“Serbian authorities declined to provide any additional details this week on the advisory cited by Zastava or what it was based on. Interpol said it could not provide additional material because it only acts as a clearinghouse for information among police agencies.”