Serbia police arrest 10 for arms-trafficking; weapons found

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbian police said Wednesday they have arrested 10 people suspected of arms-trafficking and seized the biggest quantity of weapons since 2000, including rocket launchers, anti-tank mines and automatic guns.

The arrests took place in northern Serbia, near the towns of Apatin and Sombor, in a region close to the border with Croatia, said Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic. A police video showed officers arresting suspects amid piles of weapons cases and various ammunition.

The cache included 30 kilograms of different explosives, more than 100 hand grenades, anti-tank mines, two rocket-launchers, a machine gun, automatic and semi-automatic guns, night-vision equipment, ammunition and other weapons, police said in a statement.

Stefanovic said an investigation is taking place to determine whether the weapons were to be sold, and if so where.

"We are concerned not only about the safety of our own citizens, but also over the possibility that the weapons reach other European capitals and be used in criminal acts," Stefanovic said.

Police described the seizure as the biggest since 2000, saying the leader of the criminal group was among the arrested.

Arms-smuggling has flourished in the Balkans following the wars of the 1990s when many weapons were left behind and later sold or distributed illegally. Some of the weapons used in last year's terror attacks in Paris originated in the Balkans.

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