Three people arrested for illegal manufacture of explosives and arms trafficking

The Spanish Civil Guard, within the framework of the so-called Boxes-Charada operation, has proceeded in Sanxenxo (Pontevedra) to arrest one person and two others in Pueyo (Navarra), for the crimes of illegal manufacturing of explosives and drug trafficking. weapons and ammunition, respectively.

The investigation began in September 2021 when the Information Office of the Civil Guard learned through the Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO) that several people residing in the aforementioned towns had acquired and tried to acquire suspiciously explosive precursor substances.

Explosive precursors are chemical substances that, from certain concentrations and mixed with each other or with other products, are likely to be used for the homemade and illicit manufacture of explosives; so its trade, acquisition, possession and use are rigorously controlled.

The investigation made it possible to identify a first buyer located in the province of Pontevedra, a 35-year-old person who was using the precursors acquired for the homemade manufacture of explosive and incendiary mixtures such as black powder or termite, all of which are very dangerous due to their destructive power.  He also dedicated himself to posting videos on his social networks and the internet explaining step by step how he made them and their effects; with the added risk that these tutorials could be used by other people to try to make explosive devices for violent or criminal purposes.

On the other hand, the investigation made it possible to identify a second buyer located in the Comunidad Foral de Navarra, who had used a third person from his environment to try to make the purchase of the precursors in his name and thus not be identified. This is a 40-year-old individual who was already arrested by the Civil Guard in March 2020 in another operation against arms trafficking, and in which a clandestine workshop that he had installed in his home for the manipulation of weapons was dismantled. firearms for subsequent illicit trafficking, which is why he even entered provisional prison on that occasion.

The current investigation revealed that this second individual, along with his partner, would be trying to acquire precursors for the manufacture of gunpowder (legally classified as a propellant explosive) to use it in turn in the illegal manufacture of projectile metal ammunition that they sold together with the weapons with which they allegedly trafficked. With the collaboration of Interpol, it was found out that they had recently acquired a significant number of detonating weapons abroad, which it was suspected would have been destined to be transformed into real firearms based on the background of this individual.

Once the places where those under investigation could have stored the explosive mixtures, precursors, weapons and ammunition that they suspected of illegally possessing had been identified and located, with the help of the Explosives Deactivation Technicians (TEDAX) and detector dogs, the investigation proceeded. detention of the same and to carry out entries and searches in their homes where the following effects were intervened:

  • 2kg of precursors and various chemical products for the illegal manufacture of explosives.
  • Various utensils for the illegal manufacture of explosives.
  • 1 detonating pistol converted to carry out real fire.
  • 3 blasting pistols ready for transformation.
  • 2 carbines.
  • 94 detonating cartridges together with numerous metal bearings (as a projectile) to make handmade projectile ammunition.
  • Various tools and machinery for handling weapons and crafting metal ammunition.
  • €8,800 in cash (divided into 176 €50 bills).
  • Various knives, daggers and white weapons prohibited.
  • Computer equipment and documentation for study.

Regulation of trade, acquisition, possession and use of explosive precursor chemicals

The trade, acquisition, possession and use of explosive precursor chemicals has been restricted and regulated for years both in the European Union and in Spain to prevent their diversion for illicit, violent or terrorist purposes; Therefore, for their legal acquisition in our country, it is necessary to previously have a license granted by the Ministry of the Interior through CITCO, which is the National Contact Point for precursors, and with which the Head of Information of the The Civil Guard works closely on this matter. Last year 2021, more than 450 applications for this type of precursor licenses were analyzed to rule out that their applicants did not intend to divert these substances for illicit purposes;

In one of these actions, last November 2021 in Reus (Tarragona), the Civil Guard carried out one of the largest seizures of explosive precursors carried out to date in our country, in which 350 kg of explosive precursors were seized. explosives to a person who was illegally selling them over the Internet.

With this action, not only has the explosive precursors and illegal weapons been prevented from being diverted to the black market, but the existing risk to the life and physical integrity of the people who resided in the places where they were manufactured or used these explosive mixtures in the event of an accidental explosion during handling or storage.

This operation has been carried out by the Information Headquarters (UCE 3) of the Civil Guard together with the Information Groups of the Pontevedra and Navarra Commands, with the support of the Pontevedra Explosives Deactivation Group (GEDEX) and the Service Cynological (explosive detection dogs) of both Commands, as well as the Rapid Action Group (GAR) of the Civil Guard.