Germany Probes Paris Link After Arrest of Man Smuggling Arms

  • 51-year-old Montenegrin had cache of weapons hidden in car
  • German soccer team spent night in Paris stadium after attacks

German authorities are investigating whether a man arrested in the southern state of Bavaria last week has ties to the perpetrators of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris after discovering assault weapons and explosives in his vehicle.

“There’s a link to France but it hasn’t been established that there’s a link to this attack,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin on Saturday. Officials found “very dangerous weapons” in the man’s car and a Paris address entered into the navigation unit. “Whether there’s a connection is being investigated,” de Maiziere said.

Officers discovered two pistols and a hand grenade in the man’s car during a routine check on the main highway from Salzburg, Austria, to Munich on Nov. 5. Closer inspection of the vehicle revealed eight Kalashnikov rifles with ammunition, two handguns, a revolver, two hand grenades and 200 grams (7 ounces) of TNT, the criminal investigations office in Bavaria said in a statement.

Alerted France

The 51-year-old Montenegrin remains in custody and is refusing to talk, the office’s spokesman Ludwig Waldinger said by phone Saturday. Bavarian officials alerted their counterparts in France immediately after the arrest, Bayerischer Rundfunk radio reported.

Montenegro’s Interior Ministry was told by German police that the case is being treated “as isolated and without any links to terrorism,” ministry spokeswoman Tamara Popovic said in an e-mailed statement later Saturday.

German authorities have stepped up searches on vehicles arriving from the Balkans as they crack down on human traffickers transporting refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East. Germany is a main destination for migrants and asylum seekers Europe’s biggest refugee influx since World War II.

The Paris attacks, which left at least 127 people dead on Saturday, started near the Stade de France soccer stadium during an exhibition game between Germany and France. The German team spent the night in the stadium before taking a specially arranged flight to Frankfurt early on Saturday. Before the game, an anonymous bomb threat forced the team to evacuate its hotel, according to Der Spiegel.

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