Greek authorities arrest 3 Iraqi Kurds suspected of smuggling guns

Posted Feb. 14, 2016, at 11:23 a.m.

ATHENS — Greek authorities arrested three Iraqi Kurds in two separate operations, on suspicion they were trying to move a large number of guns and ammunition into Turkey, police and coast guard officials said Sunday.

The three men, all British passport holders aged between 30 and 40, were found to have tens of thousands of small-caliber cartridges and more than 20 pistols and rifles in trailers close to the border with Turkey Saturday evening.

Two of them were arrested after a tip-off by the country’s secret services. They were found at a parking at the northern Greek port of Alexandroupolis, in a vehicle with a trailer that contained boxes with 18 rifles and 27,000 cartridges, the coast guard said in a statement.

Following their arrest, a third suspect was apprehended close to the Turkish border crossing, police and coast guard officials said. He was found to have 200,000 cartridges and four pistols in a trailer.

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“We don’t have any evidence to connect them with ISIS … we have informed Europol and Interpol,” a police official told Reuters.

The weapons were not combat rifles but could have been used for training, the official said.

Police officials earlier said the men were aged 22, 28 and 39 but the coast guard said that, according to their passports, they were 35, 36 and 40 years old.

They were due to be taken before a local magistrate later Sunday or Monday on suspicion of illegal possession of weapons and smuggling.

“We are in contact with local authorities in Greece following the arrests of three British nationals, and are providing consular assistance,” a spokesman for Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.


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