“Terrorism threats and arms have become a priority across the European Union following the recent events linked with terrorism,” Edvardas Šileris, deputy police commissioner, told a Vilnius news conference on Monday.
The police established turnover of about 50 unlawful firearms, with some of the weapons smuggled to Spain.
The arms smuggling scheme was headed and organized by Lithuanian citizens who are already in detention in Spain. One of the main suspects is Darius Mačianskas, a Kaunas resident linked with organized crime. He had been wanted by Lithuania’s police since 2012. A European Arrest Warrant was issued for his search in 2015. Lithuanian authorities seek his extradition to Lithuania.
The international operation was conducted in three phases between April and August in Lithuania and Spain. The Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau performed the investigation in cooperation with Spain’s police and Europol.
“A large number of weapons were seized during the operation,” Andžėjus Roginskis, deputy chief of the Criminal Police Bureau, told Vilnius journalists.
A total of 52 individuals from 12 countries were detained in Lithuania and Spain in the framework of the probe, including citizens of Bolivia, Columbia, Panama, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Ireland and others.