Police deny report of engaging suspected illegal arms dealer as volunteer

The Croatian police directorate late on Monday evening reported that illegal arms supplies had been found in the house of a 56-year-old naturalised Croatian citizen in Zabok, north-western Croatia, and it denied media allegations that the 56-year-old man of the Jordanian background had been hired as an interpreter and volunteer at the Opatovac reception centre for Middle East migrants passing through Croatia on their way to western Europe.

The "24 sata" news portal on Monday evening reported that after receiving an anonymous tip, the police arrested 56-year-old Omar Helo and searched his house where they found 88 pieces of small firearms and some other types of weapons and ammunition, and that he was placed in 30-day custody. According to media reports, Halo, who had been given the Croatian citizenship in 1996 after he married a Croatian, offered the weapons to unidentified Libyans and their correspondence in Arabic was confiscated.

The web portal also claimed that Halo had volunteered for some time in the Opatovac reception centre for refugees crossing into Croatia from Serbia.

The police explained that during the migrant crisis, Halo had applied to work as a volunteer in the centre, and that like all the other volunteers and persons hired to work in Opatovac and the reception centre in Slavonski Brod he had to be vetted.

The police directorate says in a statement on its web site that Croatian police have not hired the suspect and that charges against Halo on suspicion of keeping illegal weapons in his home are the result of "the finalisation of quality information obtained during the vetting procedure."

Last update: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 12:48

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