Members of the Polisario Front were allegedly complicit in enabling the suspects to get Kalashnikovs and ammunition.
Rabat – Police in Tan-Tan, southern Morocco, have arrested five suspects for their involvement with a criminal network active in drug trafficking.
The arrest operation took place on Thursday, November 21, based on intelligence from the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST).
The judicial security services caught the suspects in a tent located in the desert 70 kilometers northeast of Tan-Tan on the outskirts of Oued Draa, a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said.
Police seized a range of weapons and other equipment during the arrest, including 2 Kalashnikovs, 48 bullets, 2 hunting rifles loaded with 8 bullets, as well as 3 large motorcycles.
A preliminary investigation found that the suspects obtained Kalashnikovs and ammunition for criminal purposes including drug trafficking, with the help of Polisario Front members, the statement added.
Police put the suspects in custody for further investigation to determine if there are any more accomplices involved in the criminal network.
The investigation also seeks to determine possible ramifications with organized crime networks in the Sahel regions, the DGSN added.
Morocco has long expressed concerns over the Sahel and considers it a breeding ground for terror suspects and drug trafficking networks.
The region has become a safe zone for several terror groups, including AQIM and ISIS.
The head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), Abdelhak El Khiame, said last year that breakaway Polisario Front can also be “considered as a terrorist organization in the region.”
El Khiame said that the BCIJ managed to identify more than 100 members of the Polisario Front operating in AQIM “along which they have been involved in attacks in northern Mauritania.”