TIRANA (Reuters) - A 21-year-old Swede arrested in Albania with 19 pistols told a court on Thursday he agreed to pick them up in Kosovo and take them home to turn over to a prearranged buyer for cash to pay his school fees.
Sebastian Vall, 21, was arrested on Monday at the crossing point of Murriqan with Montenegro after he boarded a bus in neighboring Kosovo, where he had procured the handguns.
He had hidden the 7.65 mm black-and-silver pistols among his clothes in a big blue bag when the bus bound for Germany was searched with sniffer dogs at Murriqan, Albanian police said.
Wearing a red T-shirt and green shorts, Vall was ordered by the court to await trial in jail after he said he had flown from Sweden to Turkey and then to Kosovo, where he waited four days to obtain the guns.
He said he did not know the identities of either the prospective buyer of the pistols in Sweden nor the seller in Kosovo, according to Albanian media reports from the Serious Crimes Courthouse.
“I was just going to carry them to Sweden. I did it for money because I was unemployed. I wanted to study but had no money so I agreed to do it,” Vall said.
He was charged with international weapons trafficking, a charge punishable from seven to 15 years if convicted.
Albania and Kosovo, which were hit by civil unrest and armed conflict respectively in 1997 and 1999, are awash with guns, as is the rest of the Balkans following the 1990s wars that broke up Yugoslavia.
Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Mark Heinrich