Marin Dešković reports for Jutarnji list about the previous gun-smuggling links between the extremist Reichsbürger movement in Germany and the gun-smuggling from Croatia. One of the self-professed members of the group, Alexander Reichel, was supposedly living in Croatia, where he married a local woman from Zadar. He was in charge of managing an operation which included smuggling the guns from Croatia to Germany, where it was used in assassination attempts of various public figures who the right-wing extremists considered to be their enemies.
In early 2018 Croatian authorities got the information about the smuggling, which was originally just buying guns leftover from the wars in this region. It was then that the Croatian police and their German counterparts started a covert operation, including the taping of their phone calls, and other surveillance measures, which resulted in a total of 16 people being arrested in Croatia in connection with that operation. Most of them were tried and convicted in Croatia, but A. Reichel was requested by Germany to be extradited, where he was tried in 2020. Martin M. was one of the Croatian citizens who gave statements to the interrogators about his links with Reichel, detailing how he often purchased guns in Croatia and took them to Germany, where he gave them to Reichel. He understood that those guns would be distributed among the German right-wing extremists, gathered around the AfD party. Reichel was convicted earlier this year and is supposed to serve a prison sentence of four years and three months. Martin M.’s cooperation got him a sentence of only two years and nine months in prison.
One other interesting and no so widely reported detail of the spectacular arrests of the Reichsbürger members came from the article in the Guardian. In the article, Philip Oltermann claims that before getting arrested in Perugia in Italy, Maximilian Eder, one of the members of the group, spent some time in Croatia: “Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel printed an interview with Eder’s neighbour in his home town of Eppenschlag, Bavaria, who said the pensioner had called her from Croatia a few days earlier. “It could be that the police will come around next week”, the ex-soldier is reported to have said.”