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Ecuador's Former Defense Minister Arrested Over Arms Deal


A former defense minister of Ecuador has been arrested for allegedly taking part in the illegal purchase of weapons in a 1995 arms deal with Argentina.

Authorities arrested Jose Gallardo Thursday in the capital, Quito.

The $7.3 million arms deal involved Argentina's sale of more than 5,000 defective rifles and ammunition.

Mr. Gallardo is accused of misusing public funds in the arms deal, a charge he denies.

Ecuador's Supreme Court has also issued arrest warrants for Victor Manual Bayas, the country's former Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several other civilians.

In 1998, Ecuador and Peru signed a treaty ending a long-standing territorial dispute between the two Andean countries.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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