German police bust international drug ring in Düsseldorf | News | DW | 27.04.2018
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German police bust international drug ring in Düsseldorf

Eight people suspected of operating a drug ring out of the German city of Düsseldorf have been detained. The gang is accused of smuggling cocaine and meth around the world into Australia, Japan, North America.

Authorities in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) announced on Friday that they'd broken up an international drug ring responsible for smuggling kilos of drugs into foreign countries.

Police said they detained eight people who are believed to have founded the gang in 2016, which primarily operated in and around the state capital Düsseldorf.

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They are also investigating another 40 people who were allegedly members or supported the drug ring.

NRW state criminal police said a majority of the suspects were Iranian.

During raids that were carried out in mid-March, authorities secured a total 71 kilograms (156 pounds) of hard drugs as well as over €400,00 ($483,000) in cash.

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Cash recovered from raids on a drug ring in Düsseldorf (picture alliance/dpa/F. Gambarini)

German investigators uncovered cocaine, opium and cash during raids in March

Kilos of cocaine around the world

The gang hired runners to smuggle cocaine, methamphetamine and opium into several countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia.

The group also allegedly laundered the money received from their drug smuggling to hide their activities.

German investigators praised the "effective and rapid cross-border cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies" who helped investigate the case.

Police and customs officials in Japan, the Australian federal police, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (USDA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Dutch police were also involved.

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Six of the group's drug smugglers are currently serving jail terms in Australia and Japan for importing cocaine and meth.

The group's male and female recruits, aged 22 to 49, were stopped at airports for trying to smuggle drugs in special compartments in their suitcases. According to police, the group also smuggled drugs in the mail.

The group also smuggled drugs through the mail, including one instance where Australian authorities uncovered 50 kilograms of cocaine that was hidden in an industrial oven.

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