Germany swoops on people-smuggling network, one arrest

4th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

German authorities staged raids across three states against an international people-smuggling network, netting its suspected mastermind as well as a weapons cache, police and prosecutors said.

As Germany faces the biggest migrant influx since World War II, nearly 600 officers were deployed as part of the dawn swoop, the prosecutor's office in the northern city of Hildesheim and police in nearby Hanover said.

A 24-year-old male suspect was taken into custody in the western city of Essen, accused of using his contacts abroad to provide false papers to asylum seekers to facilitate the passage to Germany at a price of up to 10,000 euros ($10,900) per person.

Investigators searched 24 sites, turning up weapons including "machetes, swords, knives, ammunition for handguns and a laser sight targeting device".

Another 16 suspects are under investigation for alleged participation in the network, some of whom were described as "dangerous" by German authorities.

They offered their services mainly to Syrians and Lebanese flying to Germany to pass through border checks with counterfeit documents.

© 2015 AFP

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