In the article entitled “Weapons between Croatia, Bavaria and Berlin”, the journalists of the Berlin newspaper “Tageszeitung” deal with the question of whether arms smugglers from Croatia to Germany also pursued political goals.
The text, signed by several authors, describes how the smuggling chain was discovered in 2018. German investigators then caught a man on the highway, whom they considered a courier for illegal weapons, reports Tanjug.
This marked the beginning of years of investigations that led from Croatia to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Investigators discovered a network in which a Croatian arms smuggling chain supplied goods to other smuggling chains, including one group that operated mostly from Bavaria, bought smuggled weapons and continued to sell them. Their alleged boss, Alexander R. (48), a former customs officer who tried his hand in the legal business world, had not only alleged criminal ties with Croatia, but also private ones.
According to the “Tageszeitung”, he is married to a Croatian woman who is “connected with ultranationalist veterans of paramilitary militias, who fought in the war”.
He partly lives in Croatia, so he was arrested there last summer on suspicion that he traded in weapons illegally. He was then extradited to Germany, where he is still in pre-trial detention. Apart from him, several other people were arrested on suspicion of having committed the same crime, reports Deutsche Welle.
Alexander R.’s connection is interesting for the journalists of “Tageszeitung”. with the right scene in Germany. According to them, he was a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party whose parts are under the supervision of the Federal Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order due to suspicion of right-wing extremism, and with which he allegedly severed ties in 2017.
The article reminds that most of the members of this smuggling group were part of the right-wing extremist scene, and some were also connected with the AfD, with contacts all the way to the Bundestag and the leader of the AfD’s right-wing wing, Bjerna Heke.
According to Tagecaitung, the testimony of one witness at the trial in Croatia also pointed to this connection: “Already in April 2019, a Croatian court convicted a total of 11 people who were involved in the international trade in war weapons and weapons.” (…) One witness said that he knew who the weapon was intended for ”and marked the AfD as the recipient.
Some of the arrested smugglers also participated in the founding of the Patriotic Alternative Association, which supports the right wing of the AfD.
The Berlin paper points out that it is learned from circles close to investigators that “Alexander R. he wanted to use the proceeds from the sale of weapons to establish a new political organization “, probably a branch of the Patriotic Alternative in Bavaria.
The article states that the members of the group intended to build German settlements in Hungary, Russia and Croatia for those who want to live beyond the “mainstream and historical indoctrination”.
The authors of the article believe that by breaking the smuggling chain, the case has not been completely resolved:
“When you look at investigations and arrests, you could talk about success. About how investigators uncovered a chain of smugglers before the right-wing extreme scene could be supplied with larger quantities of weapons and before it could be used.
“But the internal chats, emails and documents we received show a different picture. In them, we read how the core of the group started trading and how Alexander R. at the same time he worked on creating new right-wing extremist circles. He is looking for contact with right-wing extremist organizations, he is working on founding new ones, which most of them do not achieve. He has been doing all this for years – without anyone stopping him from doing so “, the paper writes.
In addition, the text warns that at least six men allegedly traded in weapons, that ten of them were interested in buying, and that in the end few weapons were found. The authors assume that investigators did not find all the weapons.
The journalists go a step further and ask what they planned with the weapons, whether to form a militant group, and remind that the Green Party in the Bavarian provincial parliament asked the Bavarian Ministry of Justice to answer the question whether this is a criminal association.
They were told that, according to the available information, that was not the case, and when asked with what purpose the group sold weapons to Bavaria, the journalists did not receive an answer, because, as it was said, the investigation is still ongoing.
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