Some 60 people have been arrested and more than 700 weapons seized in two operations against illegal arms trafficking coordinated by the European police agency (Europol) the police agency reported today.
The “Kolumbi” operation, the result of an investigation that lasted two years, was led by the Slovenian authorities and was carried out with the collaboration of Spain and Croatia.
The operation led the dismantling of a Slovenian arms trafficking network that had collaborators in Croatia who were sending arms and ammunition by mail from Slovenia to Spain, Italy and France.
Thirty-three people were arrested and forty weapons seized during the operation.
The Spanish Civil Guard carried out several coordinated raids in Spain with the support of the Croatian police, according to Europol.
“Kolumbi” is part of the European strategy developed by the European authorities, the US Drug Enforcement Agency and Europol to combat criminal networks in the western Balkan region known as “the Balkan cartel”.
In a second operation named “Armes 72” in France 30 people were arrested and 700 weapons seized (including 50 submachine guns and 250 pistols) that were hidden within false walls, books or water heaters.
Nearly 700 gendarmes were mobilised, as part of the vast operation to dismantle an alleged trafficking of weapons across France, says the National Gendarmerie. During the operation searches were carried out in about fifty departments, including Seine-et-Marne. According to the report by the gendarmerie, 1,900 weapons were seized as part of this long-term investigation.
In addition to the weapons, the investigators have seized some 350,000 euros. The national gendarmerie states that fourteen individuals were indicted and two people have been sentenced to prison.
Europol will investigate the two operations to check whether these networks are related to criminal or terrorist organisations.