One of the weapons used in the Paris mass murders last month has reportedly been traced to a well-known American arms import and export company, according to reports.
The serial number of the Zastava M92 semi-automatic “pistol” – in reality a semi-auto clone of the Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle with a shortened barrel – is said to match that of one supplied by Zastava to Century International Arms of Florida in 2013.
Milojko Brzakovic, head of Serbia-based Zastava, told the Agence France Press agency earlier today (via German newspaper Deutsche Welle): “We were given numbers of weapons and confirmed that all had been manufactured in Zastava and we delivered information where these weapons ended up.”
“A semi-automatic pistol PV M92 was produced in our factory and legally exported to the (Florida-based) company Century International Arms in May 2013,” he explained.
The Palm Beach Post, a local newspaper to Century’s Florida HQ, reported that company owner Michael Sucher did not return calls for comment.
Other weapons from the Paris murders were also traced back to Zastava. “One was delivered to Bosnia in 1983, one to Skopje, Macedonia in December 1987, one to Golubici, near Knin (Croatia) in 1988, one to Zagreb (Croatia) 1987,” he said, as reported by the US Sun Sentinel newspaper. The company was asked to run checks on seven serial numbers in total.
Century is said to import 25,000 firearms a year from Zastava. No details have yet been released as to how the M92 made it from America to Paris, though various US news outlets speculate that it was done illegally. The firearm was built as a semi-auto but it is unknown whether it was converted to a full auto before the murders.
“We have strictly controlled trade of arms and military equipment, nothing goes out of the factory without the approval of the Serbian government and export license,” Brzakovic said. “Here’s where the weapons ended, there’s the data. Zastava cannot be blamed for where it went afterward.”