Guns for hire

THE POLÍCIA Judiciária (PJ) has confiscated a large haul of arms, which they believe was being hired out to criminals. The practice of hiring out arms to criminals may come as a surprise to the general public, but not to the Judicial Police officers: “This strategy is a way of distancing the weapons from the crimes, in order to make the work of the authorities more difficult,” explained an official source.

All the weapons seized will be subjected to rigorous ballistic analysis in the Police Scientific Laboratory to determine if they are linked to violent crimes. The police swooped on houses as part of an operation carried out in five locations: Lisbon, Chaves, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Nelas and Amarante. Neighbours of houses that were raided were amazed to see police emerging with a massive arsenal of weapons.

The impressive collection included seven rifles, (three of them equipped with telescopic range and silencers), a sub-machine gun, seven pistols of various calibre, 16 ‘spray’ guns and around 1,500 other munitions of various types. The discovery of the sub-machine gun, in particular, is very unusual since it is not the type of weapon usually used in criminal circles. The operation follows the recent arrest of two Portuguese men on the Swiss frontier with Germany. The men were carrying arms that were later linked to various criminal gangs.