NEWS

Untraceable firearms on market

The alarming frequency with which guns have been used in both criminal and terrorist activity in Greece over the last few months is the result of the work of a complex network of smugglers, which has made the police’s work considerably more difficult as the same firearms are rarely used more than once. Sources in the police forensics department told Kathimerini that it has become easy for criminals to get hold of a «clean» weapon – in other words, one that has not been used before in a crime in Greece and of which the police have no record. «We are now dealing with pistols and automatic weapons that are used once and then discarded,» the forensic expert, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Kathimerini. A number of high-profile incidents involving guns – including the shooting of two members of the police’s rapid response Delta squad and a 19-year-old who shot three people at a vocational training college in Athens earlier this month – have drawn attention to an apparent rise in the number of firearms in Greece. However, behind the scenes, police have also been active in seizing guns before they even reach the black market. Last month, two Albanian men were arrested west of Athens after nine 6.35 mm pistols were found in their car. Also this month, officers found two AK-47s, a Chinese-made rifle and more than 34,000 bullets. In March, police in Greece seized 45 pistols, 10 revolvers, nine automatic weapons and 98 other firearms. Sources said that this represents only a small percentage of the weapons that are being smuggled into Greece. Greek smugglers, mainly in Crete, are working with gunrunners from Balkan countries to bring in Albanian-made AK-47s, Russian Tokarev and Makarov pistols, which are in particular demand among Russian and Albanian gangsters operating in Greece.