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Firearms seized in Spain could have been destined for terrorism or organised crime

Posted on 14th March 2017 at 13:58pm

More than 10,000 assault rifles, anti-aerial machine guns, 400 shells and grenades, as well as pistols, revolvers and parts to reactivate weapons, have been catalogued following the seizure of an arsenal in Spain by the Spanish National Police.

Weapons seized by Operation Portu (Image: Spanish National Police)

Operation Portu – an operation against illicit firearms trafficking – was carried out by the Spanish National Police, with the collaboration of Europo; in January. Europol actively participated in the investigation by providing operational and technical analysis, and on-the-spot support.

The organised crime group sold deactivated firearms that did not comply with the existing deactivation standards and live firing firearms in Spain and other European countries such as France and Belgium. The armament was acquired mainly through legally established channels and later reactivated.

The huge seizure of arms needed several weeks to catalogue. Owing to their characteristics, their calibre and their readiness for reactivation, the seized weapons had an easy journey in the black market and posed a significant risk of being acquired by organised crime groups and terrorists.

There was a significant risk of these weapons finding their way onto the black market, says Europol (Image: Spanish National Police)

In total, more than 10,000 assault rifles were counted, as well as anti-aerial machine guns and numerous guns and revolvers, all of them ready to be repaired and transformed into firearms. Over 400 shells and grenades, as well as essential parts and components, such as barrels, were also seized. Investigators also found an illegal workshop with different machinery to manipulate and reactivate weapons.

Europol says it has seen a significant increase in the supply of this type of firearms to criminals and organised crime groups since 2014, and that it is actively working to disrupt the illegal flow of firearms.

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