Serbia busts France-bound arms trafficking ring

16th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Serbian police have busted a gang smuggling arms to France, arresting two Serbian nationals and seizing guns and explosives, the interior minister said Wednesday.

The announcement came just a few days after the head of a state-controlled Serbian weapons factory told AFP that some of the arms believed to be used in last month's deadly Paris attacks were manufactured by the firm.

"We arrested late Tuesday two of our citizens, members of a large arms trafficking ring towards France," Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told state-run RTS television.

He did not elaborate on the links between the traffickers and France.

Stefanovic said police late Tuesday seized explosives, guns and ammunition from a vehicle in northern Serbia, and arrested the two occupants.

A police statement said the seized weapons consisted of "three kilogrammes (6.6 pounds) of plastic explosive, two detonators, nine hand grenades, three automatic rifles, two machine guns and 160 bullets of 7.62 mm calibre."

The minister said police in the northern town of Novi Sad had been monitoring the traffickers for "several months". He did not reveal the suspects' identities or other details of the investigation.

Milojko Brzakovic, head of the Zastava arms factory, told AFP last week that following the November 13 attacks in Paris, Serbia's interior ministry was asked by French police and Interpol to check serial numbers of seven weapons, including assault rifles, believed to have been manufactured in Zastava.

"We were given numbers of weapons and confirmed that all had been manufactured in Zastava," he said.

German newspaper Bild reported last month that four assault rifles used in the Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead, had been allegedly purchased from a trafficker in Germany.

Quoting documents from the Stuttgart prosecutor's office, the newspaper said two AK47s and two Zastava M70s were sold on November 7 by the arms dealer to a customer in Paris

© 2015 AFP

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