Bulgaria Police Seize 'Two Platoons' Worth' of Weapons

Bulgarian authorities arrested seven people and seized a major haul of weapons and ammunition that would have been enough to "arm two platoons" in a series of operations over five days, the head of the police's Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, GDCOD, Ivaylo Spiridonov, said on Wednesday, showcasing piles of guns and ammunition.

The operation was launched on November 30 in Sofia, when GDCOD officers arrested a person identified as Ivaylo Popov who was leaving a garage containing 65 automatic rifles, 43 handguns, 37 machine pistols, 400 gun barrels, 14 launchers for rocket propelled grenades, RPGs, and around 50,000 bullets, according to the authorities.

It is still unclear who Popov worked with.

In other operations in Kazanlak, in central Bulgaria, the authorities took into custody two groups of seven and five persons each.

The first group was captured with ten Kalashnikovs and pistols while completing a deal. After a search of their apartments, police found 17 more assault rifles and 15 handguns, prosecutor Evgenia Stankova said.

The second group consisted of two Bulgarians and three foreigners with still unidentified citizenship, which was allegedly responsible for printing counterfeit documents.

Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev said the two gangs  worked in tandem and some of their members previously worked in the local Arsenal-Kazanlak weapons plant, one of the largest producers of light assault weapons and munition in Bulgaria.

The authorities did not provide any details about how the weapons were extracted from the plant, or how many were smuggled.

Petar Petrov, a spokesperson of Arsenal-Kazanlak, told BIRN that nobody from the police or prosecution had contacted the company yet about the supposed...

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