Spanish Civil Guard dismantle a clandestine explosives manufacturing workshop

The Spanish Civil Guard, within the framework of the so-called “PIROXILO” operation, has proceeded in Castilleja de la Cuesta (Seville), to dismantle a clandestine explosives manufacturing workshop and to arrest a person for the crimes of Illegal Manufacturing and Deposit of Explosives, as well as Risk Caused by Explosives or other agents.

In the operation, almost 50 kilograms of different explosives precursor substances and other chemical products have been intervened, in addition to the rest of the necessary elements, among which 22 wick rolls and 700 electric matches (initiators) stand out.

The detainee had installed at his home, located in a block of flats, a clandestine workshop equipped with all kinds of machinery and elements necessary for the manufacture of explosive, incendiary or pyrotechnic mixtures and devices.

This person manufactured the artifacts in an artisanal way based on mixtures of chemical substances precursors of explosives, which he previously acquired outside the law abroad. With the precursor substances and chemical products intervened, different types of explosive, pyrotechnic or incendiary mixtures could be elaborated; all of them very dangerous due to their destructive power.

The investigation began when the Civil Guard detected that the detainee was receiving postal items from Eastern European countries that contained explosive precursor substances that were falsely declared as handicraft products; which led to suspicion of the illicit purpose to which they were destined.

It is, therefore, one of the largest seizures of this type of artifacts of artisan manufacture and explosives precursors carried out so far in Spain, together with the one carried out in November 2019 in Miranda de Ebro (Burgos,) where it also the Information Office of the Civil Guard dismantled another clandestine explosives manufacturing workshop.

This operation is the result of the work carried out by the Civil Guard in this matter as the State Security Force and Corps on which the responsibility for the control of weapons and explosives falls; Therefore, its Information Headquarters has been making a constant effort to detect and neutralize the channels of illegal supply of this type of precursor substances.

With this action, it has not only been prevented that the high number of seized explosive and pyrotechnic mixtures and devices could be diverted to the black market; But the enormous risk to the life and physical integrity of the residents of the building where the clandestine workshop was installed in the event of an accidental explosion during handling or storage has also been avoided.

Despite the seriousness of the events and the potential danger mentioned above, the investigation made it possible to rule out any type of connection of the detainee with radical, violent or criminal groups, so everything seems to indicate that he carried out these activities out of his fondness for experimenting with this type of subject.

Seized items:

  • 5.7 kilograms of gunpowder.
  • 50 artifacts of artisan manufacture already finished.
  • 22 rolls of wick (13 rolls of slow wick, 7 rolls of fast wick and 3 of craft wick) plus 10 loose craft wicks.
  • 700 electric matches (starters).
  • 28.3 kg. of explosives precursors (potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium nitrate, powdered aluminum and powdered magnesium).
  • 19 kg. of various chemicals for the manufacture of explosives (nitrocellulose, sulfur, ground charcoal, boric acid, ammonium perchlorate, benzoate, iron oxide, copper oxide, strontium and barium nitrate, and sodium sulfate).
  • 126 cleats of pressed gunpowder.
  • Manuals and handwritten annotations for the manufacture of explosive and pyrotechnic mixtures.
  • Various machinery, tools and elements for handling explosive and pyrotechnic mixtures (4 MT hydraulic press, industrial grinder, cardboard and plastic casings, etc.).

Chemicals trade

The trade in explosive precursor chemicals has been restricted and regulated for years both in the European Union and in Spain; Therefore, for its legal acquisition in our country, it is necessary to previously have a license granted by the Ministry of the Interior through the Intelligence Center for Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), which is the National Contact Point on the matter. of precursors, and with which the Information Office of the Civil Guard works closely on this matter, as shown by this Unit so far this year has analyzed more than 390 applications for this type of precursor licenses for rule out that its applicants do not intend to divert these substances for illicit purposes. This exhaustive control makes people, like the one now detained, try to acquire these precursors in other countries outside the European Union.