• A 40-year-old man who bought starting pistols to later modify them into real firearms, has been arrested in Bigastro.

The Civil Guard has detained a 40-year-old man in Bigastro, who bought starting pistols for modification into live firearms, in an underground workshop that he had set up at his home.

A further six people have also been arrested in Alicante, Bizkaia, Madrid, Toledo, Navarra, Barcelona, ​​Girona and Segovia, who are all charged with  crimes of arms trafficking, arms storage, ammunition and explosives storage, illicit possession of weapons, counterfeiting of currency, electric power fraud and documentary falsehood.

Among the effects seized in Bigastro are pistols, barrels and firing pins, shotguns, pellets and some 600 rounds of live ammunition of different calibres.

Operation “Botxo” began last year when the Guardia Civil identified a person, resident in the province of Bizkaia, who was thought to be trafficking in weapons, which he sold through the internet, despatched to his buyers through the postal service.

The investigation revealed that this individual had been engaging in this illegal activity for several years, through different portals and online forums, where he frequently changed his virtual identity to avoid being identified. The arms supplier turned out to be an individual from Madrid who, under the cover of being an authorised arms broker, diverted weapons and ammunition to the illegal market, which in turn were resold by third parties to crime syndicates in the country.

In the detainee’s home, which the Civil Guard visited on June 25, three short weapons were found which had been modified to carry out live fire. Spares necessary to modify at least four more short weapons, laser sights, shotgun pellets and some 600 live ammunition cartridges, were also found among other effects.

The man was arrested for a crime of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. He was placed at the disposal of the Orihuela judicial authority, who released him on bail, awaiting trial.

Most of the illegal gun buyers, who were also detained, were people related to organised crime rings and gangs involved in drug trafficking and counterfeiting. One of the detainees had been evading justice for several years, was the subject of several arrest warrants, and had been using a false identity. Two of the six detainees are currently being held in prison, by order of the Judicial Authority.

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