WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- A Spanish man who has championed North Korea for several years was arrested for arms trafficking.
Alejandro Cao de Benós, known as the unofficial "ambassador" to Pyongyang according to VICE, was arrested with nine other people including an individual described as de Benós' roommate.
Spanish prosecutors said the arms-trafficking ring was located in Murcia, a city in southern Spain, and that the man at the center of the group was in possession of at least three blank-firing pistols that were modified to shoot real bullets.
Local sources told El Mundo de Benós said he had purchased the weapons for his own self-defense.
De Benós is known for his eccentricities, including his attire: a North Korean military uniform that he wears in public, and can be seen on his Twitter profile.
But the Spaniard, who is the descendant of aristocrats, is not a Korean People's Army soldier or a citizen of North Korea.
De Benós has over the years said he is a friend of the Kim regime and has spoken favorably of North Korea's state ideology of self-reliance.
His role is closer to that of a travel agent, El Mundo reported.
North Korea has been known for trafficking arms and the weapons have sometimes reached the Middle East.
Pyongyang has also been growing its arsenal of nuclear weapons, according to a report published Tuesday by the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C.
According to David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, North Korea has about 13-21 nuclear weapons, but that number does not account for the uranium that has been produced at a plant at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex.
In the last 18 months, Pyongyang has added four to six nuclear weapons, the analysts stated.