German arrested in Hungary in online firearms shop probe

BERLIN — A German man has been arrested in Hungary in connection with an investigation into an illegal online firearms shop aimed at people afraid of migrants, officials said Wednesday.

Berlin prosecutors said in a statement that a 34-year-old man they identified only as Mario R. was arrested in Budapest early Wednesday.

Police searched two properties in the Hungarian capital and seized evidence, including computer storage devices, prosecutors said.

German media have named the suspect as Mario Roensch, a far-right activist from the eastern city of Erfurt. He is suspected of operating a website called "Migrantenschreck," which roughly translates as "migrants' fright," that sold hundreds of handguns and rifles capable of firing rubber bullets with such force that they can kill a person at short distance.

The suspect is alleged to have sold the firearms, which need special permission, in at least 193 cases to buyers living in Germany, Berlin prosecutors said.

A leaked list of buyers obtained by several German media revealed they included a cross-section of society.

Authorities have been investigating Roensch since at least 2016, when a former German lawmaker filed a criminal complaint against him for allegedly operating other websites containing racist and anti-Semitic material.

Prosecutors say they are seeking the man's extradition to Germany.

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