Russian FSB detains group of arms trafficking suspects


MOSCOW, July 23 (Xinhua) — The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said Monday it had detained a group of individuals suspected of smuggling weapons into Russia in a joint operation with police and National Guard officials.

The group based in Moscow, St. Petersburg and the northeastern city of Yaroslavl is suspected to have set up a channel of smuggling weapons from European Union countries and upgrading and manufacturing firearms and munitions inside Russia, an FSB statement said.

In the course of the operation, a total of 380 domestic- and foreign-made firearms were seized, it said.

The list included 25 machine guns, 30 assault rifles, 70 submachine guns, 94 carbines and rifles, 158 pistols and revolvers, two anti-tank weapons guns, a 45 mm infantry mortar, an automatic grenade launcher, an improvised explosive device, 15 manual fragmentation grenades, as well as over 4,500 cartridges of various caliber and silencers.

At the end of May, the FSB said in a statement that it had carried out searches in 14 Russian regions, foiling the activities of a group of 32 individuals suspected of the acquisition, manufacturing, upgrading and sales of weapons.

During the operation, a total of 83 firearms, a number of hand grenades, mortar mines and varied ammunition were seized and the activities of four clandestine arms and munitions workshops stopped, it said.