Police arrested 20 suspects as part of a crackdown an organized drug smuggling network in Germany on Wednesday.
Investigators alleged they were involved in importing large quantities of cannabis from southern Europe to be sold in Germany, police in the state of Lower Saxony said.
The suspects are also suspected of having cocaine trafficked from South America to some extent, police said.
In addition, the perpetrators were suspected of dealing with firearms, the Hannover Interior Ministry reported.
The network activity is thought to have originated in 2017.
How can the police catch the smugglers
According to the German tabloid newspaper picture, the investigation was started by the Federal Criminal Police Office.
Investigations in France are very important. Experts in the country analyzed messages sent via the now-defunct encrypted messaging service EncroChat.
In many cases, chat pseudonyms were traced to several suspects in Hannover, the capital of Lower Saxony.
The raids that led to the arrests were carried out in Hannover and around the city of Celle, in the same state, according to a police statement.
The raids were also carried out in the city of Halle in the neighboring state of Saxony-Anhalt, the main port city of Hamburg as well as in the Baltic state of Latvia.
About 1,000 officials took part in the operation. Apart from detaining the suspect, they searched around 65 places.
“This is a real success in the fight against organized drug crime,” picture quoting Lower Saxony interior minister Boris Pistorius.
The EU deals with drug importers
In late February, investigators in Germany and Belgium discovered a total of 23 metric tonnes (25 US tonnes) of cocaine worth a road worth billions of euros in cross-European drug raids.
In total, 102 metric tons of cocaine bound for continental Europe were intercepted last year by an international law enforcement project jointly implemented by the United Nations.
kmm / nm (dpa, AFP)
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