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Major raid against smugglers – operation in Frankfurt | hessenschau.de

The police launched a major raid against suspected smugglers. Ten suspects were arrested. There were searches in eight federal states, including Hesse.

The Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office arrested ten suspects in a large-scale raid against an international smuggling gang in eight federal states.

More than 1,000 federal police and public prosecutors have been involved in the operation since early morning. There was a search in Frankfurt.

Residence permits for money

A total of 101 residential and business premises were searched, including two law firms, as the Federal Police Directorate in Sankt Augustin near Bonn announced on Wednesday.

Taking advantage of special rules for foreign skilled workers, the suspected smuggling gang is said to have obtained residence permits for around 350 mostly Chinese nationals in exchange for five- and six-figure euro amounts.

Assets secured

There were raids in North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Berlin, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse. According to a spokesman, locations in addition to Frankfurt included Solingen, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Aachen.

Assets were also seized and evidence was searched for. Loud Bild newspaper It is also about the suspicion that employees of immigration offices were bribed. The report talks about “luxury smuggling.”

The focus of the investigation was in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the ten accused were also arrested. Among them were a lawyer and a lawyer. The investigators did not provide further details about which property was searched in Frankfurt.

30 percent more smuggling

Smuggling refers to helping people enter Germany illegally, usually in exchange for money. This involves driving services, false documents, travel organization or accommodation. Unauthorized entry and stay are punishable under the Residence Act.

Anyone who is in this country without the required residence permit must leave the federal territory. There are prison sentences of between one and 15 years for commercial smuggling.

In 2022, the Federal Criminal Police Office and Federal Police registered 4,936 cases of smuggling across Germany – an increase of almost 30 percent compared to the previous year. The background is the sharp increase in irregular migration to Europe. The current smuggling crime situation report from 2022 states that the perpetrators are acting “very professionally and flexibly” and that there is also an increasing willingness to take risks.

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