Portugal's defense chief quits amid arms theft case

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's defense minister has resigned amid the legal and political fallout from last year's theft of weapons from the national armory.

Minister Jose Azeredo Lopes quit Friday, days after a senior member of his staff admitted he had received confidential information by hand from investigators about the case. Azeredo Lopes has publicly denied ever receiving such information.

The resignation was the latest twist in the unresolved theft amid repeated leaks, public accusations and military arrests.

The state-owned news agency Lusa published the minister's resignation letter, in which Azeredo Lopes said he didn't want the armed forces to become "worn down" by the accusations.

The stolen weapons reappeared four months after the theft in a field 30 kilometers (20 miles) away and were recovered after an anonymous tip-off.