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Russian Cops Bust Black-Market Machine Gun Racket

Russian authorities said Tuesday that they had busted a black-market weapons smuggling racket in possession of machine guns, semi-automatic rifles and grenades across half a dozen cities.

A total of 14 people were detained in the sweep, in the central and northwestern cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaluga, Belgorod, Voronezh and Tula, the Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor agency of the Soviet-era KGB, said in an online statement.

About 70 Russian and foreign-made firearms, 20 grenades, 3,500 bullets of various calibers, 10 kilograms of explosives and 17 electric detonators, as well as silencers and components for making about 180 firearms, were uncovered in the raids, the statement said.

The firearms included belt-fed machine guns, submachine guns, semi-automatics and other rifles, revolvers, carbines and grenade launchers, the FSB said. Four workshops for modernizing firearms and preparing ammunition were "liquidated."

Authorities have opened five criminal cases into the illegal possession, sale and shipment of firearms and ammunition, and an investigation into other potential culprits connected with the scheme is under way, the statement said.

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