The Spanish Civil Guard seizes more than 80 firearms, war weapons and 3D printing weapons in an international macro operation

The Spanish Civil Guard, in coordination with Europol, has led an international investigation against the illegal manufacture of firearms intended for sale to criminal organizations in countries in Europe and America. 14 people have been arrested and more than 80 firearms have been seized, including war weapons and others manufactured with 3D printing technology.Operation “Carmelo” began at the beginning of this year when firearms trafficking specialists from the Information Headquarters of the Civil Guard managed to identify several people located in our country who were acquiring tools for the manufacture of weapons. They were not authorized to possess firearms and had previous criminal records for crimes related to the possession and trafficking of firearms.

The Civil Guard established contact with police from other countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada where it was suspected that there could be clandestine workshops. 

Thanks to the initial information provided by the Civil Guard, up to a total of 14 illegal workshops were discovered. They manufactured all types of firearms and silencers using both heavy industrial machinery (lathes, milling machines and hydraulic presses) and 3D printing technology to manufacture some of the components of the firearms that were later assembled.

Once the suspects were identified and the location of the clandestine workshops was located, 24 searches of the workshops and homes were carried out simultaneously in all countries, with the arrest of 14 people.

Results in Spain

In our country, six people were arrested and three of these workshops, located in Madrid, Jaén and León, were dismantled. 42 firearms, more than 32,000 cartridges, 29 silencers, 18 kilos of explosive substances and numerous tools, machinery and components essential for the manufacture of weapons have been seized.

The dismantled workshop in the province of Madrid manufactured firearms using 3D printing technology. An FGC-9 submachine gun was found there, one of the most lethal weapons manufactured with 3D technology worldwide given its ability to fire automatically like a machine gun and its small size.

In the province of Jaén, two clandestine workshops equipped with heavy industrial machinery (lathes, milling machines, hydraulic presses, etc.) were dismantled, in which 28 firearms were seized, several of them assault rifles classified as weapons of war. In addition, 23,350 metal cartridges including war ammunition, 29 silencers or 17 kg of explosive substances.

In the province of León, 13 firearms and 8,800 metal cartridges that those investigated illegally possessed were seized.

International results 

For its part, in Germany four illegal workshops were dismantled, two of them 3D printing firearms, as well as more than 10 firearms and 5,000 cartridges in the illegal possession of those arrested. In Sweden, a person who transformed firearms into real weapons in another illegal workshop was also arrested.

In the United Kingdom, three actions have been carried out with the arrest of three people suspected of manufacturing firearms using 3D printing. In the different searches carried out, more than 10 illegal firearms, large volumes of ammunition, explosive precursors, gunpowder and even a military grenade launcher have been seized. Likewise, in Ireland the police authorities carried out two actions in which four other firearms were seized.

Also in Canada, another illegal workshop for the illegal manufacture of firearms using 3D printing technology was dismantled, seizing several firearms hybridly manufactured using this technology.

The operation has been developed by the Information Headquarters of the Civil Guard jointly with EUROPOL and the police authorities of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. The Information Groups of the Madrid, Jaén and León Commands, the Cynological Service (weapon detection dogs), GEDEX of Granada and León and other Units have also participated.