More than 300 police have conducted raids across Cologne in an effort to break a suspected people-smuggling operation. Police searched properties at two locations in the city and arrested two suspects from Iraq.
Investigators also coordinated operations in the neighboring city of Bonn, Neuss, near Düsseldorf, Duisburg in Germany’s industrial heartland and in the neighboring state of Lower Saxony.
People smuggling from Iran and Iraq
German authorities suspect the men of heading a ring of smugglers who have been bringing people to Germany illegally from Iran and Iraq via cars and lorry convoys. They are questioning a further 33 people believed to be from Iran, Iraq, Germany, Poland, Italy and Ivory Coast.
As well as people smuggling, the members of the gang are being investigated for tax crimes, falsifying documents, conspiracy to lodge false asylum claims, and fraudulent use of visas and other documents.
The local state broadcaster, WDR 1 reported that police found cash, valuables and at least 50 smartphones worth 600,000 Euros at the properties they searched.