PJ police are on the trail of a black market supply of deadly weapons which it suspects is feeding criminal gangs in Portugal.
The latest Skorpion machine pistol – capable of firing 800 rounds a minute and developed in the 60s for use by special forces in Czechoslovakia – was uncovered on Wednesday, when police led a raid on a drug trafficking ring in Setúbal.
The group, involving at least two Spaniards, “used high-performance cars” and were found not only in possession of the Skorpion, €60,000 in cash and a 120-kilo haul of hashish, but equipped with bullet-proof vests as well.
Belief is this could be the same group that attacked a security van in Barreiro late last year in a raid that went badly wrong: two policemen were injured and one of the assailants killed in the exchange of fire power (click here).
The link between the two incidents includes the fact that a Skorpion machine pistol was recovered from beside the body of the dead gang member.
But a model of the notorious gun used in crimes throughout the world these days came to light after an attack on a jewellers in Barreiro in 2015. Thus police are trying to discover where today’s criminals are accessing these old but formidable weapons.
Tabloid Correio da Manhã explains one of the major issues is that Skorpions are superior to standard-issue police firepower. They apparently give criminals “an instant advantage” in any confrontations with armed agents.