Cell Phone Guns Discovered
L O N D O N, Dec. 6, 2000 -- At first sight it looks like a regular cell phone — same size, same shape, same overall appearance.
But beneath the digital face lies a .22-caliber pistol — a phone gun capable of firing four rounds in quick succession with a touch of the otherwise standard keypad.
European law enforcement officials — stunned by the discovery of these deadly decoys — say phone guns are changing the rules of engagement in Europe.
“We find it very, very alarming,” says Wolfgang Dicke of the German Police union. “It means police will have to draw their weapons whenever a person being checked reaches for their mobile phone.”
Although cell phone guns have not hit America yet, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Customs Service say they’ve been briefed on the new weapons.
“This criminal invention represents a potentially serious threat to law enforcement and the public,” said U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
“We received word about these guns last month. We have since alerted our field personnel to be on the lookout for ‘cell phone guns’ at U.S. ports of entry.”
Guns on the Move
These new covert guns were first discovered in October when Dutch police stumbled on a cache during a drug raid in Amsterdam.
In another recent incident a Croatian gun dealer was caught attempting to smuggle a shipment through Slovenia into Western Europe.
Police say both shipments are believed to have originated in Yugoslavia.
Interpol sent out a warning to law enforcement agencies around the world.
European border police and customs officers are at a heightened state of alert at all ports, airports and border crossings.
‘If you didn’t know they were guns, you wouldn’t suspect anything,” said Ari Zandbergen, spokesman for the Amsterdam police.
“Only when you have one in your hand do you realize that they are heavier,” says Birgit Heib of the German Federal Criminal Investigation Agency.
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