six suspected gun smugglers have been caught in a multinational crackdown on firearms trafficking jointly launched by China and the United States, China's Ministry of Public Security said on Monday.
In the case, 105 guns, a large quantity of gun parts and at least 50,000 bullets were seized.
The case also involves a US soldier, Joseph Debose, a staff sergeant with the US National Guard Special Forces in North Carolina. He was arrested in May under a charge of illegal firearms trafficking.
The multinational case began in August when Customs officers at Shanghai's Pudong Airport found nine guns and 16 gun parts in a delivery package claiming to be amplifiers. Wang Ting, a 32-year-old man, was detained.
The discovery sparked a police investigation that led to a criminal gang with members in China and the US. The gang had used a delivery network on a number of occasions, according to the ministry.
Using information provided by Wang, police officers detained 23 suspects based in China and seized 93 guns, a large quantity of gun parts and more than 50,000 bullets.
To track the source of the firearms, based in the US, China's police with US Immigration and the Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations launched a joint investigation.
The team later arrested Debose, as well as two US-based Chinese suspects.
Lin Zhifu, 25, one of the two Chinese suspects, has been living in the US since 2009. Lin is accused of having delivered firearms from New York City to many middlemen in China via express delivery.
The ministry said the case is a difficult one since the source of the firearms is overseas, although the major part of the gun smuggling ring is domestically based.
"Gun smugglers are using the Internet to contact each other, and the information of those involved in the case is fake. All this has made the case very difficult to solve," the statement said.