Germany: Three Berlin officials probed over cocaine smuggling operation | News | DW | 01.12.2021

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Germany: Three Berlin officials probed over cocaine smuggling operation

One of the suspects is a police officer, while the other two work for a district office in Berlin. Police revealed they had broken up a smuggling operation that brought cocaine from South America to Germany.

A police officer in Berlin, Germany

The three suspects are alleged to have aided drug smugglers

Three Berlin officials, including a police officer, are under investigation for assisting an international cocaine smuggling operation, German authorities announced on Wednesday.

The suspects are alleged to have aided smugglers by obtaining official information from within the security forces official files in exchange for a fee. The suspects are also alleged to have forged documents.

"Of the three suspects, one person is a police officer within the Berlin police force," Berlin police and the public prosecutor's office in the capital said in a joint statement. "The other two persons are employed by a district office. The suspects are alleged to have made queries in the information systems or produced forged documents in return for payment. Arrest warrants were issued for two of the suspects, including a police officer."

The prosecutors' statement did not specify in which office the accused worked.

Five other officers probed in suspected cover-up

The statement also revealed that five other employees of the Berlin police are being investigated for "obstruction of justice and falsification of documents."

These suspicions arose during searches but are not directly related to the initial investigation.

"In coordination with the Berlin public prosecutor's office, proceedings have been initiated in this regard," the statement continued. "Three of the five suspects are accused of attempting to 'cover up' the aforementioned suspicions of bribery and false certification against their colleagues.

"During the searches, various items of evidence, including cell phones and other data carriers, were seized. The task now is to evaluate this evidence in the course of further investigations."

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Cocaine trafficking - Just another business

EU: Record levels of cocaine smuggling

On Tuesday, police revealed they had "broken the supply chain" as they made 14 arrests in connection with smuggling several tons of cocaine from South America to Germany.

Authorities also said the smugglers' trafficking route, which had been in operation for 10 years, had been dismantled as part of an international investigation.

In February, German and Belgian authorities seized a record haul of more than 23 metric tons (25 US tons) of cocaine, with a street value of billions of euros.

Cocaine seizures in the European Union reached record levels in 2019, according to the latest data from the UN and EU drugs agencies.

In 2020, drug trafficking of cocaine "increased significantly" — rising by 9.6% compared to the previous year — according to government statistics.

Edited by Sean Sinico.

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