The French prosecutor’s office said on Friday that French security forces had discovered an “interesting” arsenal of war weapons and a ton of ammunition in the homes of four neo-Nazis in eastern Alsace.
As a result of the operation, which mobilized about 200 agents, three men between the ages of 45 and 53 were arrested, after intelligence warned that members of a small neo-Nazi group were talking about “hunting down Jews,” he added.
Mulhouse attorney Edwige Roux-Morizot explained at a news conference that in the wake of fears of “extreme right-wing terrorism,” reports suggest they may have “some particularly dangerous” weapons.
A spokesman for the public ministry said there was “danger of action being taken” by officials to intervene, noting that no evidence was yet available for any specific project.
Searches in the cities of Sierentz, Brinckheim, Richwiller and Mooslargue led to the discovery of 18 legal and 23 illegal weapons and 167 magazines – 72 AK-47s – and a detailed lieutenant Colonel Jan Vanson.
Agents also found 35 kilograms of ammunition, three ammunition recharge presses, a large number of war weapons magazines, a one-rupee note counter, about 25,000 euros ($ 26,800) and two silencers.
Vanson noted that there were “at least 1,200 ammunitions” of all kinds, with a total weight of more than a ton.
The court convicted four inmates of smuggling weapons and could face up to 10 years in prison. Two are in custody and one-third have been released with judicial restraint, Rooks-Morrisot explained.
The suspects were “integrated” into the community, working, “like other citizens” but belonged to a small group of neo-Nazis, as confirmed by the “literature” found in their homes, he added.
Following the rise of anti-Semitism, France has intensified its surveillance of far-right movements in recent years. Centralist President Emmanuel Macron even visited the Jewish cemetery that was destroyed in 2019 in Alsace.