20000 M16s Go Missing With No Leads
A media report coming in from overseas states that enough M16 rifles went missing from a warehouse in Kuwait this month to arm and equip and entire division of infantry. Worse, it seems the warehouse was unguarded and a huge cache of ammo went south as well.
According to the World Tribune who reported on April 9:
"The [Kuwaiti] Interior Ministry said thieves broke into a warehouse and stole a huge amount of firearms and ammunition. The ministry said 20,000 U.S.-origin M-16 assault rifles and 15,000 rounds for 9mm pistols were stolen. "There were no guards during the break-in," the ministry said on April 7. The ministry said the target was a warehouse of the Interior Ministry in Subiya, Middle East Newsline reported. The statement said thieves broke three doors and removed the entire contents of the warehouse."
How is this possible?
(You ever move an embark box full of M16s? Its a two-three man job all day, photo by casesbysour)
To move 20,000 M16 rifles is no easy task. This quantity of rifles was more than likely stored in cases rather than racks. This means pallets and pallets of M4 embark boxes, each with six rifles inside. Each of these loaded boxes weighs about 150-pounds as they are literally meant to withstand brutal shipping by the lowest bidder around the world. Moving 3000 cases like this would require a football team sized group with a strong back and a convoy of moving vans all afternoon.
(This is how M16s are stored in US armories. Moving 20,000 guns that are secured like this with no one stumbling on the operation is amazing)
Even if the guns were in racks and not cases, the M12 racking system used by the US military places a steel rack for 12 rifles inside a locking metal cabinet. Say the rows and rows of cabinets in this warehouse weren't even locked; it would still take hours for a group of thieves to move this amount of hardware one rifle at a time via bucket brigade. Speculate that you form a bucket brigade of 15 guys passing rifles out the rack to a waiting truck at a rate of one rifle a second- that's five hours. If you argue maybe they could pass two at a time at work without break at a steady pace, that's still over two hours.
These guns apparently did not belong to the US military, although some 13,000 American troops are currently stationed in that Persian Gulf country. The guns seem to be military aid or Foreign Military Sales to the Kuwaiti government. While Al Qaeda itself is not believed to be operational in the kingdom, a group known as the Peninsula Lions with links to AQ has been active in the country in recent years as has the Iranian backed Generation of Arab Fury .
Whether or not these guns were stolen by these groups, tribal-based criminal organizations, or some other new player to the area is currently not known. What is known is that 20,000 M16s are most likely on the underground silk road for those with the scratch and the contacts.