A German man who allegedly housed a collection of weapons in his home made headlines at the weekend after authorities made the case against him public. The arms allegedly included a flamethrower and two AK-47 automatic weapons. The unnamed man is on trial in a Dresden courtroom, charged with training terrorism, carrying firearms without a license, supplying weapons for crimes, and other charges related to weapons and explosives, among other crimes. Authorities initially issued an arrest warrant for the man on Feb. 21, only to release him after witnesses came forward to describe the alleged bomb-making process he used.
As the days progressed, police searched the man’s flat. According to prosecutors, they discovered ammunition, “the components for constructions,” including bomb-making kits, and three weapons, including a Peko handgun and a Saiga rifle. The accused is now standing trial.
After the man’s arrest, Markus Breitmeyer, of the Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt, spoke of his surprising discovery. According to him, “the weapons are sufficient to execute a serious attack.” Although the suspected extremist had 20,000 euros in his bank account when police first arrested him, he had far more. He allegedly had at least 22,000 euros in cash stashed away, along with 60 items of foreign currency including dollar, British pound, Polish zloty, Swedish krona, Swiss francs, Russian rubles, and German marks. He also had an extensive collection of sharp objects and tools used in bomb making. He used U.S. dollars and Swiss francs to purchase weapons.
In his case, the weapon inventory is part of the standard procedure in investigating an alleged far-right extremist, according to Alexander Wust, the legal attache for Germany’s Foreign Ministry.
These numbers make a clear demonstration of the material assistance these individuals are able to obtain. When authorities show up to search an alleged extremist’s home or apartment, it’s not uncommon for them to find an entire arsenal, especially in cases where there’s surveillance video showing how they came to possess the weapons.
According to Martin Hen, a criminologist who has been following far-right extremism for the last five years, “the number of firearms carried around by far-right extremists in Germany is not an enormous problem. Most have been able to buy a weapon legally — since the fall of communism after the Cold War.”
Still, he says, “there are growing concern about the generation of young followers of the extreme right, especially after the terrorist attacks in Salzburg and Munich. This gives the authorities many reasons to watch the scene and see what sort of weaponry they might be working with.”