Shortly after 6am on Tuesday, the largest raid of its kind in the history of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) began, reports Rheinische Post (RP).
Spiegel reported that raids were also taking place in several other German states on Tuesday morning. Customs have as yet given no details on where the other raids are happening.
In Erkrath, heavily armed special forces stormed homes, offices and commercial buildings and two people have been arrested. In the district of Hochdahl, officials have arrested a man and a woman in an apartment building.
A spokesman for the main customs office in Krefeld did not initially provide further details on other cities where the raids are taking place.
According to information gathered by RP’s editorial team, more than a thousand task force personnel are involved in the raids across the state of NRW. Involved in the deployment are six to eight customs task forces, nine public prosecutors as well as GSG 9 – an elite German police unit.
Prior to the start of the raids officials had received about ten arrest warrants against an illegal network which allegedly runs a multi-million euro business.