Police find 8,000 illegal “weapons of war” with link to terrorist attacks
Police who made Spain’s largest-ever black market seizure of 8,000 military weapons saythe method used echoed the Paris “Charlie Hebdo” attack and a 2014 atrocity in Belgium.
Four men and one woman were arrested in in the towns of Olot (Girona), Liendo (Cantabria), Galdácano and Guecho (Biscay) following a lengthy investigation.
The criminal organisation was part of a network which bought unused weapons of war under the pretext of running a sports firm. They then sourced spare parts, reactivated the guns and put them up for sale on the black market.
A spokesman for the Spanish Government said: “This modus operandi used to purchase weapons is the same as the one used for the attacks carried out in Paris on January 7th, 2015, against employees of the satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’, in which 12 people were killed and another 11 injured, all with recommissioned weapons acquired at the time from a Slovak gunsmith.”
He also confirmed the police operation stemmed from the surveillance carried out on the weapons used by a terrorist in the attack against a Jewish museum in Brussels on May 24th 2014, in which four people were killed by shots fired by a citizen of French nationality and Algerian origin.
Under-cover agents from Bilbao, Girona, Barcelona, Santander and Valencia were involved in the investigation.
Once the decommissioned weapons were legally sourced, they were taken to a “sophisticated workshop” in Guecho and reactivated.
So far, more than 8,000 military weapons ready for sale have been seized, including 29 long arms, various short arms, several canons and a range of ammunition of differing calibres.
The Spanish Government says police are continuing to crackdown on the illegal sale of weapons to organised crime gangs and terrorists.
The police operation is being supported by EUROPOL, which has provided specialists to the team working in this area.