Raid against smugglers in Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt
Mith a major raid, the police in Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt took action against a gang of suspected smugglers. More than 20 apartments and offices, mainly in Berlin, have been searched since early Wednesday morning, according to a spokesman for the Federal Police said. Five men were arrested, four of them in Berlin and one in Halle. The police are investigating a total of 18 suspects.
The gang is said to have smuggled migrants from Turkey and Iraq to Germany. They are said to have been flown from Istanbul by plane to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the police, cars continued from there via the so-called Balkan route to Germany.
At least 90 people were smuggled in this way. The gang is said to have been well organized, with members for the organization and others just being drivers. The arrested suspects are mainly of Turkish and German nationality, as a police spokesman said.
Suspects were considered aggressive
Around 400 police officers from the federal police and the Berlin police were on duty. The Berlin State Criminal Police Office (LKA) and the public prosecutor’s office were also involved. Because the suspects were considered aggressive and possibly also possessed weapons, the police used special task forces such as the GSG 9 of the Federal Police.
A spokesman said people were found in several apartments who may have been smuggled in. Their IDs and residency status would now be checked. The apartments searched in Berlin were in the districts of Neukölln, Mitte, Reinickendorf, Spandau, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Tempelhof-Schoeneberg.
The allegations in the ongoing investigations include commercial smuggling of people. The aim of the searches was to confiscate evidence such as mobile phones and written documents. The police also wanted to secure money and other assets. Refugees usually pay thousands of euros per person to gangs of smugglers.