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German parliamentarian Hartmann facing drugs probe

Berlin prosecutors have begun a drugs probe against German parliamentarian Michael Hartmann, prompting him to quit his post as a center-left internal affairs spokesman. The Bild newspaper claims crystal-meth is involved.

Berlin prosecutors began a search of the private apartment of Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentary member Hartmann on Wednesday after Germany's Bundestag had lifted his immunity

Social Democrat parliamentary caucus manager Christine Lambrecht said the SPD wanted the allegations investigated thoroughly.

The 51-year-old Hartmann (pictured) from Mainz, the regional capital of the western German state of Rhineland Palatinate, has been a Bundestag member since 2002.

The studied political scientist became the SPD's caucus spokesman on internal affairs, which includes policing, in 2011.

He also belonged to the federal Bundestag parliament's key 20-member

PKGr control panel

that oversees Germany's intelligence services and their 11,500 employees.

Hartmann to remain lawmaker

The SPD caucus in a statement on Wednesday evening said Hartmann would retain his post as Bundestag parliamentarian.

On Tuesday, Hartmann had backed a call from Stephan Mayer, the conservative Bavarian interior affairs spokesman in Chancellor Merkel's coalition government, that organized criminals have their luxury cars confiscated.

Hartmann told the Die Welt newspaper that car confiscation was the appropriate means and it was now time to pack it securely into legislation.

"The fight against organized crime must be intensified," he told Die Welt on Tuesday.

Second probe against SPD spokesmen

The Berlin drugs probe against Hartmann is the second launched in recent months against a former SPD spokesman on internal affairs.

In February, the SPD's

Sebastian Edathy quit parliament

citing poor health when it emerged that prosecutors were investigating child pornography accusations. He denied the allegations.

ipj/dr (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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