Police in Italy recovered Nazi paraphernalia, guns and missile during a Monday operation that was part of a year-long investigation into “Italian fighters with extreme ideologies.”
One of the three suspects taken into custody had been flagged for trying to sell an air-to-air missile that was located in the northern Italian city of Pavia, authorities said in their announcement. The weapon did not have an explosive, police say, but was still usable. Authorities also found assault rifles, bayonets, pistols, and nearly a thousand cartridges and other weapons parts.
Turin police commissioner Giuseppe De Matteis called the raid “a significant seizure, with few precedents in Italy,” France 24 reported. He added that “we have some idea about what the seized equipment could be used for, but will not speculate.”
Italian newspaper La Repubblica named the arrested suspects as Fabio Del Bergiolo, a former customs officer who was affiliated with the far-right Forza Nuova party, Swiss national Alessandro Monti, and an Italian named Fabio Bernardi.
Authorities say that the suspects attempted to sell the missile, believed to be a French Matra missile, over the messaging service WhatsApp, Reuters reported.
The raid was born out of a year-long investigation into Italian extremist fighters who were believed to have “taken part in the armed conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine,” Italian police said.
The raid was carried out by the Digos law enforcement division in Turin, which investigates terrorism and other domestic crimes, in cooperation with police in four other northern Italian cities.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Kayla Epstein