Eight men suspected of planning an attack on a van carrying precious metals in Switzerland have been arrested in neighbouring France.
The suspects, all men between the ages of 30 and 50, were in possession of weapons and explosives when they were arrested in the middle of a forest in the Ain region.
They will be indicted for “criminal association” by a magistrate of the specialised interregional court of Lyon, France.
The incident was first reported by French daily newspaper Le Parisien and confirmed on Monday by Switzerland’s Keystone-SDA news agency.
The men were arrested early Thursday morning in the commune of Collonges, just a few kilometres from the Swiss border, before they could stage their attack on an armored van.
French rapid intervention units waited all night before taking action.
The suspects had Kalashnikov assault rifles, gloves, bullet-proof vests and face masks. They also had several stolen vehicles, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Most of the suspects come from the Greater Lyon and northern Isère areas, which are already known to the police, particularly for crimes committed in Switzerland.
Several van robberies in Switzerland have been attributed to Lyon-based criminal networks.
In May, nine people were indicted and sentenced to prison in one such case that occurred in 2018. That criminal undertaking was particularly elaborate – preceded by the kidnapping of a security guard’s daughter.