PARIS: French customs officers said they seized nearly 500 weapons, including assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, hand grenades and more than 100 kilograms of ammunition, from a sports shop owner in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
The man was stopped at a post office in the town, not far from the northern port of Calais, last week as he was sending a package to the Netherlands. The parcel was found to contain a smooth-bore rifle.
Officers decided to search the man's vehicle and discovered a pistol and bullets. They went to his home, where they found rooms packed with loaded shotguns, more ammunition and arms parts, none of which he was licensed to keep.
Growing more suspicious, they searched another vehicle where they found ammunition, grenades, a hunting rifle and more parts. Finally, they went to a warehouse rented by the same man, where they discovered racks of assault rifles, machine guns, automatic pistols, cartridges and a workshop for retooling weaponry.
The customs department said in a statement the judicial authorities were now pursuing the matter with the man and that no terrorist activity was suspected at this stage.
(Writing by Luke Baker, reporting by Simon Carraud, editing by Brian Love, Larry Kihng)