ATHENS, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Greek police have dismantled two illegal gold trade gangs which were operating across the country, arresting 59 individuals so far, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Wednesday.
According to police sources, a major operation which started on Tuesday was still underway, while large quantities of gold, silver, jewelry, as well as cash and weapons have been confiscated.
Among the detained is a Greek national who had become famous during the Greek debt crisis through TV advertisements of his chain of gold and silver pawn shops, according to the same sources.
A 20-member strong gang of foreign nationals who was robbing homes is believed that was channeling the stolen valuable items to owners of gold and silver pawn shops and jewelry stores across the country.
According to information so far, a part of these stolen items was smelted in a foundry and was smuggled abroad.
In 2016, Greek police dismantled a Roma gang which was involved in more than 500 robberies and was also cooperating with gold and silver pawn shops and jewelry stores.
Since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009 which brought Greece at the brink of default, many Greeks bought gold and silver, fearing potential loss of their savings in cash in case of a return to the national currency or "haircut" on their bank deposits.