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Gangs are acquiring highpowered, military-grade weapons more frequently, according to the latest National Gang Intelligence Center Report. And FBI and law enforcement officials suggest gang members — both enlisted and those working at military bases as contract civilians — may be funneling the firearms to their street-level counterparts.

In late July, 27 AK-47s were stolen from a Fort Irwin warehouse, officials said. Those close to the case, who would speak only under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the subject, said investigators believe gang members were involved in the theft.

Related Story: FBI Says Gangs Infiltrating the US Military

One source said the base had hired parolees, and officials are investigating the possibility parolees may have been involved in the heist. The source believes that since the theft, the base has discontinued the practice.

Gus Bahena, interim director of the public affairs office at Fort Irwin, said authorities couldn’t comment on whether the base hires parolees, but did state officials were aware of gang issues.

Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command in Quantico, Va., confirmed the independent agency that investigates felony-level crimes was actively working the Fort Irwin case but wouldn’t comment on the details, stating they wanted to maintain the integrity of the investigation.

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