Munich / Aachen – Destroy the international smuggling ring!
18 arrest warrants on suspicion of drug smuggling were carried out. More than a ton of narcotics was smuggled, according to the Aachen public prosecutor and the Joint Investigation Group on Narcotics Northern Bavaria.
The Joint Investigation Group on Narcotics North Bavaria (GER Nordbayern) of the Customs Investigation Office in Munich and the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office searched a total of 30 apartments and various business premises in Germany from April 13 to 15, including 27 properties in the greater Berlin area alone. Arrest warrants were executed against 13 alleged members of an internationally active group.
At the same time, eight other properties were searched and five suspected gang members arrested in the Netherlands under the leadership of the International Legal Assistance Center Limburg in Kerkrade / Netherlands.
The suspects of Vietnamese descent are said to have smuggled several kilograms of narcotics from the Netherlands into Germany on a regular basis from mid-2017 to early 2021. The officers became aware of the group through a customer who was repeatedly caught in Bavaria and who is said to have obtained his drugs from those involved in the crime in Aachen.
Based on the previous investigations and the evaluation of covertly obtained findings by the GER Nordbayern, it is currently assumed that around one tonne of methamphetamine (crystal) and several hundred kilograms of ecstasy were transported by couriers. The drugs were hidden in professional smugglers’ hideouts from cars or under camouflage loads and brought to both Berlin and the Czech Republic. From there they were redistributed or sold.
The international investigations and the measures that have now been carried out are directed against a total of 31 persons involved in the crime who are based in Germany and the Netherlands.
“Such challenges in the fight against organized drug-related crime can only be met if the close and trusting cooperation of the law enforcement authorities involved across borders leads to the dismantling of multilateral criminal structures. The successful procedure here makes this more than clear, ”said Dr. Rainer Mellwig, director of the customs office in Cologne.
On the days of the search, in addition to a total of several kilograms of methamphetamine and 15 kilograms of diluents, 60,000 euros in cash as well as numerous data carriers and written records were seized, the evaluation of which is now pending.
Another source of income for the suspects was apparently the operation of illegal gambling halls with manipulated slot machines in Berlin. On the days of the search, officers of the Berlin police seized 47 machines.
On the days of action, a total of more than 430 officers from the Joint Investigation Group on Narcotics North Bavaria, the customs investigation offices in Munich, Berlin-Brandenburg, Essen and Hanover, as well as three police officers from Berlin were on duty. Due to possible risk situations, the special units of the customs, the Central Customs Support Group (ZUZ), the Federal Police (GSG 9) and special task forces of the Berlin Police were deployed.