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Assault rifles Swiss-French arms trafficking ring dismantled

Elite police units are often deployed in Marseilles to tackle conflicts between armed gangs

(Keystone)

An investigation by the French police has led to the arrest of two Swiss residents involved in smuggling arms to the French cities of Toulouse and Marseilles. Around 300 to 400 weapons of different calibers, including a Kalashnikov and M16 were seized. 

Information on the trafficking operation was obtained after investigations in France and Switzerland in June and July, said the Marseilles public prosecutor Brice Robin at a press conference in the city on Monday. 

Two suppliers of weapons were identified – a Swiss and a French citizen – both Swiss residents. A total of 17 individuals appeared before a court and nine were jailed for participating in the smuggling operation. Two main networks were identified. 

“In the first case, the two [people] implicated supplied the city of Toulouse with assault rifles,” said Robin. He added that the city was one that was susceptible to crime. “In the second network, arms were imported from Switzerland to France at the rate of one or two per month for around three years.” 

He said that the weapons were destined for gangs involved in armed robbery as well as key figures in the Marseilles narcotics trafficking business. 

Besides the guns, 14 kilos of ammunition, a kilo of cocaine, jewellery and €223,000 (CHF242,282) in cash were seized. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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