Sixteen asylum-seekers were arrested on Wednesday, suspected of running a crime ring. Authorities said the raid was unrelated to an operation in October that also focused on Chechen asylum-seekers.
German authorities conducted raids against Chechen asylum-seekers suspected of forming a crime ring on Wednesday.
Authorities rounded up 16 suspects in the raids across three German states: Saxony, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate. The suspects hailed primarily from Russia's restless region of Chechnya. Police said the suspects formed an organized crime ring focused on blackmail, illegal restraint and harassment. The effort was coordinated by police in Saxony. Due to the risk of violence, counterterrorism unit GSG 9 took part in the raid. No injuries were reported.
"Especially in these times when counterterrorism constitutes such a key part of our criminal investigative work, we cannot allow other more traditional types of criminality - especially organized crime - any room to sprawl," said Jörg Michaelis, president of the state of Saxony's investigative criminal police force (LKA Sachsen).
Wednesday's raid follows an operation on October 25 in which primarily Chechen refugees in Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia were arrested on suspicion of involvement in financing terrorism. Officials said there was no connection between Wednesday's raids and those of October 25.
kbd/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)