The Venezuelan government reiterated that no inmates died during the prolonged riot in the La Planta prison in this capital that ended in mid-May, adding that after searching a little more than half of the facility authorities had seized 87 firearms, 64,450 rounds of ammunition and 19 grenades.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday by the private television channel Televen, Prison Service Minister Iris Varela gave the results of the prison search so far, adding that four tear gas canisters, two "stun" grenades and two 1.5-inch mortars were seized by authorities along with homemade knives and an unspecified quantity of marijuana.
Later, at a press conference, Varela said that, in all, 152 firearms had been found, including FAL, AK-47, AR-15 and AUG assault rifles, as well as a machinegun, 17 shotguns, 95 pistols or revolvers and 27 bombs.
Also, she said that 547 cell phones and "about six kilograms" of various illegal drugs had been found.
On May 19, the Venezuelan government removed the 1,693 prisoners from La Planta after a riot during which armed inmates held sway in the compound for some three weeks, killing - according to the government - one person and slightly wounding three others, all of them civilians living near the prison.
The dead man, the government said, was Henry Molina, 48, who was hit in his home by a bullet fired from the prison.
However, local media reported that nine prisoners died during the crisis.
The riot broke out in late April after the government's decision to close the prison, which is located in the Caracas district of El Paraiso, a move the inmates rejected.
The minister said that once the search of the facility is completed, the structure will be demolished and the resulting cleared land will be turned over to "the enjoyment of the Caracas public." Tentative plans include possibly building a public amphitheater for the country's children's orchestras on the site.
The Venezuelan government has admitted that it has "a serious problem" with weapons and drugs coming into the country's 35 prisons, During 2011, the non-governmental organization Venezuelan Prison Observatory said, there were at least 560 deaths and 1,457 injuries of inmates in the country's prisons, which are 360 percent overcrowded. EFE