The Spanish Civil Guard participates in the dismantling of an important organization dedicated to arms trafficking at the European level

The Civil Guard within the framework of the Operational Task Force (OTF) “LOS”, coordinated by EUROPOL, has participated together with the police authorities of eight other European countries (Holland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland and United Kingdom) in the dismantling of an important criminal organization dedicated to international arms trafficking, and which was mainly made up of citizens of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.  

The dismantled criminal organization was dedicated to the conversion into conventional firearms of pistols, submachine guns and last generation assault rifles that had previously been recalibrated to the Flobert system to be able to be sold more easily in certain Eastern European countries whose legislation allows it. . 

Many of these weapons had the ability to make automatic fire (machine gunners), thus being weapons of war. 18 people have been arrested and more than 350 weapons have been seized, although it is suspected that the dismantled organization has supplied more than 1,500 firearms to criminal groups located in Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Germany , Portugal, Sweden and the Czech Republic.  

The investigation began in early 2020, when different European countries, including Spain, began to seize this type of firearm. The international information exchange through Europol made it possible to discover that all these weapons had a common origin in different armories in Slovakia where they were massively acquired by this organization to later manipulate them, turning them back into real firearms in their original calibers. to later be sold to other criminal organizations, mostly linked to drug trafficking, throughout Europe. 

Due to the size and complexity of the investigation, EUROPOL set up an Operational Task Force (OTF), which is only intended to fight criminal organizations and targets of high strategic value.  These OTFs are a highly specialized instrument recently created within EUROPOL to form multidisciplinary and multinational police teams to deal with the most dangerous and active Transnational Criminal Organizations, being made up of members of the Police Forces from different affected countries, and in this case It was made up of agents from the Information Office of the Civil Guard on the part of Spain. 

The participation of the Civil Guard in this macro operation began as a result of the investigations and intelligence carried out by its Head of Information (UCE3) in relation to seizures in our country of several of the firearms with which this Criminal Organization trafficked and For which, among others, the Op. POWER started in September 2019 as a result of the seizure of an automatic weapon (submachine gun) of this type, of caliber 9mm, was being developed. parabellum, who in their hasty flight left the occupants of a stolen vehicle with false Dutch license plates, which was involved in a traffic accident with a fatal victim on the A-1 highway in the province of Madrid. 

As a result of this fact, and thanks to a quick investigation carried out by members of the Information Service of Madrid, Malaga and its central body (UCE3), it was possible to identify the driver who fled the wrecked vehicle, which was part of the Criminal Organization now dismantled and that at the time of the accident it was preparing to make a delivery of weapons.  This individual, along with two other members of the organization, could be located and arrested just two days after the accident when they tried to flee Spain from Malaga airport. They were Dutch citizens of Turkish origin. 

Another of the firearms of this criminal organization recovered in Spain by the Civil Guard was a 9mm caliber pistol. parabellum, seized months later in the province of Cádiz from two citizens also of Dutch origin linked to drug trafficking. The integration and analysis of all the evidence obtained on the occasion of said seizures of arms in Spain and other countries, once shared through Europol and numerous meetings and exchanges of information between the police forces that are members of the aforementioned Opertional Task Force, made it possible to put exposed the ramifications of a criminal organization of high strategic value now dismantled. 

This investigation is in turn framed within the EMPACT of Firearms, which is the European Union platform for the fight against trafficking in weapons and explosives, and which is led at the European level by the Civil Guard as DRIVER of the cited EMPACT.  

Given the importance for the Civil Guard of the fight against arms trafficking, as it is the Police Force that is assigned in our country the control of firearms, from the Units of its Information Service a constant effort has been made to detect and neutralize the illegal supply channels of the same, as evidenced that in the last 5 years the Information Service has carried out more than 93 operations against arms trafficking networks with the result of 435 people arrested, more than 4,845 weapons of fire seized (many of them from war) and 609,625 metal cartridges intervened, 236 kg of explosive substances, more than € 700,000 in cash and 20 clandestine workshops dismantled.