NYT - October 30, 1999

Seized Arms Traced to Switzerland

By The Associated Press

TRIESTE, Italy (AP) -- Investigators have traced an arms shipment seized last winter in Italy to a charity worker in Switzerland, who allegedly was trying to send the weapons to Albania disguised as humanitarian aid.

Swiss authorities said the arms had been destined for the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.

Authorities in Switzerland have arrested a Swiss and an ethnic Albanian in connection with the smuggling, Italian authorities said Friday.

Custom officials found the weapons when they stopped a truck with Albanian license plates in Trieste on Feb. 9.

Under clothes, furniture and other goods declared as relief supplies, authorities found 46 rifles, 30,000 rounds of ammunition and other weapons, Italian officials said.

Swiss and Italian investigators traced the shipment to an official in the Geneva office of a Mother Teresa charity.

The charity, which is independent of the late ethnic Albanian nun's church-run charity, was not involved in the alleged smuggling, authorities said.

Authorities are seeking key players in the alleged smuggling, as well as the drivers of the truck. The roles of the two people in custody in Switzerland were not immediately clear.