Guardia Civil Success In Global Illegal Arms Trade Crackdown

Global Crackdown On Illegal Firearms Trade

Seizure of illegal firearms. Credit:

Spain’s Guardia Civil led an international operation into international arms trafficking, supported by Europol with the help of countries including the UK, Ireland, Germany and Sweden.

In a major crackdown which began early this year, the Guardia Civil has spearheaded an international effort to dismantle a widespread illegal firearms network.

This operation, known as ‘Carmelo,’ has led to the arrest of 14 individuals and the seizure of over 80 firearms, including war weapons and 3D-printed guns.

Operation Carmelo: A Coordinated Effort

The Guardia Civil’s Information Headquarters initially identified suspects in Spain, leading to further discoveries in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Their information unveiled 14 clandestine workshops, producing firearms with both traditional heavy machinery and cutting-edge 3D printing technology.

Significant Seizures And Arrests

A simultaneous raid across these nations resulted in 24 searches, unearthing illegal workshops and homes. In Spain alone, six arrests were made, and three workshops were dismantled in Madrid, Jaen, and Leon.

These sites yielded 42 firearms, over 32,000 cartridges, 29 silencers, 18 kilos of explosives, and crucial manufacturing tools.

Madrid’s workshop was particularly notable for its use of 3D printing technology to create highly lethal FGC-9 submachine guns.

Meanwhile, the Jaen and Leon sites had heavy industrial equipment, with Jaen’s workshops containing 28 firearms, including assault rifles classified as war weapons, and significant amounts of ammunition and explosives.

Europol Statistics

  • 10 arrests (6 in Spain, 1 in Sweden and 3 in the United Kingdom)
  • 10 illegal firearms workshops dismantled (in Canada, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom)
  • 24 location searches (2 in Canada, 9 in Germany, 2 in Ireland, 5 in Spain, 1 in Sweden, 2 in the Netherlands and 3 in the United Kingdom)
  • 49 new investigations initiated (2 in Canada, 9 in Germany, 2 in Ireland, 2 in Spain, 1 in Sweden, 2 in the Netherlands and 31 in the United Kingdom.
  • Seizures 
  • 70 illegal firearms, including assault rifles, 3D-printed semi-automatic submachine guns, pistols and drill presses)
  • Weapons, including tasers, compressed air/blank firing weapons, crossbows, bayonets and butterfly knives
  • Over 37 000 rounds of ammunition, explosives precursors, gunpowder and a grenade launcher
  • Weapon parts and components: barrels, silencers and magazines

Global Impact And Collaboration

Internationally, Germany’s efforts led to the dismantling of four workshops, including two specializing in 3D-printed firearms. Sweden’s police apprehended an individual converting firearms into lethal weapons.

The UK’s operation resulted in three arrests and the seizure of numerous illegal firearms and a military grenade launcher. Ireland’s police seized four additional firearms, and in Canada, another workshop manufacturing 3D-printed firearms was shut down.

This successful operation, driven by the Guardia Civil in collaboration with Europol and other national authorities, marks a significant blow to the international illegal arms trade, demonstrating the power of global cooperation in combating crime.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.