Raid against suspected people smugglers in three federal states

Federal police officers have been searching Halle 14 objects in Berlin, in Brandenburg Forst, in Cottbus and in Siegen in North Rhine-Westphalia since the early hours of the morning. They are said to have arrested several people. The raids are about combating commercial and gang-based smuggling crime.

Escape route via Belarus to Germany

According to MDR research, the core of the alleged gang consists of at least six people of Syrian and Iraqi origin. Investigators suspect, however, that a larger network was operating around them. The group was probably operating from Germany and is suspected of having smuggled people from Syria to Germany via Belarus and Poland.

This escape route leads, among other things, from the Middle East via Dubai to the Belarusian capital of Minsk. From there it continues to the forests on the border with Poland, then mostly across the country and finally to Germany. Often smuggler gangs are behind it, profiting from the suffering of the people.

When Poland increased security measures on the border with Belarus, the accused are said to have switched to the Balkan route. The investigators, who worked on the case for several months, assume that the gang earned between 3,500 and 10,000 euros per person smuggled in. The federal police should be able to prove around 60 cases with around 300 people smuggled.

Prosecutor’s office in Görlitz has been taking action against people smugglers for a long time

The public prosecutor’s office in Görlitz, which is conducting the investigation, has been dealing with smuggling crime for a long time. Among other things, a case from near Görlitz made headlines nationwide. There, the police found an Iraqi dead in a van in autumn 2021.

“The smugglers don’t care about the life of the individual smugglers,” says Andreas Roßkopf, chairman of the police union, Federal Police and Customs District, the MDR. Smuggling crime, according to Roßkopf, is a “highly professional and highly criminal business” with “mafia-like structures” that is also difficult to fight because the people behind it are not based in Germany.

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