Police bust weapons smuggling ring

Police bust weapons smuggling ring
Bosnian police confiscated weapons on their way to Sweden. Photo: Shutterstock
More than 100 hand grenades and around a dozen automatic weapons on their way to Stockholm were confiscated on Friday when Bosnian police swooped down in on a weapons ring that had been on law enforcement’s radar since last year.

A large criminal network began to unravel after police in Bosnia and Sweden confiscated a large number of illegal weapons and drugs that were meant for the Swedish market, news agency TT reported.

Police became aware of the smuggling ring after a raid in Slovenia last September where five automatic weapons and 59 hand grenades were found in a car on its way to Sweden. Since then, police from Sweden, Bosnia, Serbia and Slovenia have conducted reconnaissance missions in the Stockholm area and several countries in the former Yugoslavia.

The international law enforcement operation went under the name Recoil.

This latest haul by Bosnian police netted 105 hand grenades, around a dozen automatic weapons, several kilos of explosives and a large number of tablets classified as narcotics.

Swedish police held their own raids, confiscating two automatic weapons.

In Sweden, three people have been taken into custody, suspected of serious weapons and narcotics offences and attempted smuggling.

“They came from the former Yugoslavia several years ago and a number of them were living under the radar,” said Gunnar Appelgren, chief of the reconnaissance section of the regional investigation unit in Stockholm.

“Since then they made contacts with criminals and established a network for narcotics and weapon smuggling,” he added.

Besides the three people being detained in Sweden, seven were taken into custody in Bosnia and in Serbia. 

Police in Sweden said while they suspected that the weapons had been ordered by criminals in the Stockholm area and other parts of the country, they were surprised at the size of the shipment itself.

“Earlier you mostly saw smaller numbers, maybe one or two weapons were brought over the border at a time,” said Appelgren. “But in this case we’re talking about a bulk order, which is something new.”