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Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

Illegal weapons
Gran Canaria arrest
The Guardia Civil, working with Europol and trained sniffer dogs, have busted a weapons trading plot in Spain, possibly for diversion to jihad groups, with ramifications in the Canaries.


Even heavy weapons such as machine guns were found during the operation
Even heavy weapons such as machine guns were found during the operation

line
17.05.2015 - As part of Operation Taronja, seven people were arrested and searches were made at apartments in Alicante, Málaga, Murcia, Vizcaya, Navarra, Cantabria, Burgos, Barcelona, ??Sevilla, Cádiz, Córdoba and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Hundred of weapons were seized: 11 assault rifles, 14 machine guns, 15 pistols, 22 revolvers, 15 hunting rifles, 10 Flobert system weapons, nine muzzleloaders, a shotgun, a shotgun disguised as a walking stick, a keychain pistol, four silencers and over 21,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibres. 

One of those arrested had installed a clandestine workshop in his garage in Alicante for the repair of these arms, where handmade or worn out weapons were refurbished and made usable and ready for sale.

Numerous items of machinery, equipment and spare parts were seized, as well as 11.5 kilos of gunpowder and more than 60 weapons, some new and others in the process of restoration.

The firearms were purchased via the internet from other countries and sent by post to the buyers, somehow bypassing searches.  However, the police were made aware of the gang via these internet purchases.  Either the weapons were sold on immediately or after an extensive overhaul, on the black market. A spokesman for the investigation team said "Due to the original condition of these former war weapons, for many of them, in terms of their calibre or the fact they are automatic and/or have been overhauled, their illegal sale poses a major security risk for the public.” 

A spokesman from the organised crime unit CITCO confirmed that “There is also the danger that they could be sold to terrorist groups.  The possible link between arms trafficking and terrorist organisations makes the fight against arms-dealing a priority, both on a national and European level." 

Around 200 links between jihads and illegal arms merchants have been uncovered.  Although currently no connections have been discovered between the people arrested in this case and the Islamic State, there is a huge risk that such dealers could sell to potential attackers, who obtain their weapons from wherever they can, especially the black market, and will take whatever is available.



Gallery: Gran Canaria arrest
Even heavy weapons such as machine guns were found during the operation 
 1 picture found: Go to gallery
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