Nine convicted in France for arms trafficking
French court on Friday convicted nine men of trafficking weapons from ex-Yugoslavia to ETA and the IRA
TOULON, France, January 7, 2008 - A French court on Friday convicted nine
men of trafficking weapons from ex-Yugoslavia to the Spanish Basque separatist group ETA and Northern Ireland's IRA and jailed them for up to eight years.
Bosnian Croat Zvonko Lukic, 54, was sentenced to eight years in jail while
two French nationals and a Romanian who acted as go-betweens were given
sentences ranging from 40 months to 30 months in jail.
Five other defendants, said by prosecutors to have a minor role in the
trafficking, were given jail terms ranging from four years to a two-year
The arrests followed the discovery in January 2007 of 194 weapons in three
caches in southern France including 54 Kalashnikov rifles, 350 kilos (770
pounds) of munitions and detonators.
French police acted on a tip from Croatian authorities who said weapons
transiting through Marseille and other points in southern France were destined
for ETA, the Irish Republican Army and even Colombia drug lords.
Proceeds from the arms sales were also feeding the drug trade in Austria,
Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia.