Lithuania's Criminal Police is carrying out a large-scale investigation into the sale of guns from the country's Weaponry Fund on the black market.
The police seized 224 various guns during detentions and searches. "The investigation revealed that these guns entered illegal circulation from Lithuania's Weaponry Fund,” Lithuania's Police Commissioner General Linas Pernavas told a press conference at the Police Department on Tuesday.
Weaponry Fund under the Interior Ministry controls ammunition and weapon sales, and their supply in the market. Weapon ownership in Lithuania is tightly controlled.
According to Pernavas, one of the detained suspects worked at the Weaponry Fund in 1996-2006 and was in charge of receiving, storing and destroying guns.
“The existing evidence suggests that the suspect stole those guns from the Weaponry Fund, [...] then organized and carried out their sale with accomplices,” Pernavas said.
The guns should have been destroyed instead, he added.
Rolandas Kiškis, the head of the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau, said the probe was launched more than two years ago and seven people were detained during the police operation.
“They were found to be in possession of over 200 automatic guns. [...] The majority of those guns were fully-operational combat guns,” he said.
Two of the detainees were known to the police and had links with organized crime.
Martynas Jovaiša, a chief prosecutor from the Prosecutor General Office's Organized Crime and Corruption Investigation Department, told the press conference that four suspects were detained last summer, and the remaining three were detained in September and October.
In his words, documents were seized from the Weaponry Fund on Tuesday. The investigation will now look into whether all the guns entered circulation from the fund.