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Portuguese police smash arms ring

Published on 14/02/2011

Police in northeastern Portugal smashed an arms trafficking ring, arresting 11 people and seizing 200 kilos of explosives near the Spanish border, they said Thursday.

As well as the explosives, the security forces found more than 3,000 detonators, and 13 firearms, including an assault rifle in the Tras-os-Montes region.

No link was found between those arrested, all Portuguese nationals, and the Spanish Basque separatist movement ETA, whose stashed explosives were discovered last year in central Portugal, police said.

Spanish authorities previously suggested ETA, which has a rear base in France, may have decided to transfer its logistical operations to Portugal.

The Basque group declared a “permanent” ceasefire last month.