Customs claim success in crystal meth battle
The Local · 18 Jun 2014, 08:20
Published: 18 Jun 2014 08:20 GMT+02:00
- Crystal meth use hits record level (17 Apr 14)
- Children, 11, taking crystal meth (12 Mar 14)
- Bavarian town shuts Czech border (15 Oct 13)
Crystal meth use has boomed in Germany over the last couple of years, with 2,556 new users coming to the attention of authorities in 2012 – a 51 percent increase on the year before.
The highly-addictive synthetic stimulant causes serious, long-term health problems and can have devastating effects on regular users' physical appearance.
The eastern German state of Saxony is a hotspot for traffickers who smuggle it across the open border with the Czech Republic.
The dedicated 12-head unit that was set up to counter the threat in September 2013 has so far confiscated 6.4 kilos of crystal meth, officials said in a statement on Monday. This complements 7.5 kilos seized by other operatives of the Dresden Customs Office this year.
Overall, the unit has launched 170 investigations against some 220 suspects and seized €100,000 cash.
“All in all, we are on the right track, but will work together with all involved in the crystal meth problem over the long-term," said Anett Haussler, the director of Dresden Customs.
Cooperation between Saxony's customs office and authorities in the Czech Republic is also a "vital building block" in fighting the crystal meth trade, officials said.
They said supplies of the drug which end up in Saxony are mainly 'cooked' on Czech soil, then sold to German buyers in markets near the border, meaning it was necessary for Czech and German authorities to work "hand in hand" with each other to track down the meth's producers in the eastern European country, as well as the German buyers and their paymasters.
The statement claimed the two countries' customs officials were "constantly exchanging sources and information" and regularly teaming up on investigations.