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Police raid migrant smuggling network with connections to far-right

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Police raid migrant smuggling network with connections to far-right
Suspect in Hamburg taken out by police. Photo: DPA
11:17 CEST+02:00
800 police officers searched buildings in northern and central Germany where several suspects are said to have smuggled foreigners into Germany with fake documents. Some suspects are alleged to be connected to the alt-right Reichsbürger movement.

With 800 officers, the federal police searched apartments and offices in more than a dozen locations in northern and central Germany on Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, including Hamburg, Bremen and towns in Saxony-Anhalt.

First reported by news agencies NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the raid was against eight suspects alleged to have smuggled several hundred Moldovan citizens intoto Germany with forged Romanian passports and employed them illegally in the security industry.

Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the shelters of the smuggled Moldovans were searched on Tuesday morning before they left for their jobs. The illegal immigrants were questioned by the police in order to ascertain and register their real identities.

The police, including various special units, searched multiple premises in the Hamburg area, two buildings in Bremen and more in Saxony-Anhalt.

A spokesman for the federal police in Pirna said that approximately 800 officers have executed 21 search warrants since Monday evening, and further noted that some suspects have ties to the far-right Reichsbürger movement in Saxony-Anhalt.

The Reichsbürger movement is considered extremist due to the fact that it rejects the legitmacy of the modern German state, and its adherents consider themselves "Reich citizens". Police did not immediately say how the Reichsbürger scene may be connected with the smugglings.

Two Germans and one Russian between the ages of 30 and 43 had already been provisionally arrested in Hamburg on Monday. On Tuesday, a decision is expected to be made as to whether to issue an official arrest warrant for the men.

Many of the illegal Moldavians worked in the port of Hamburg as security guards on various construction sites and even in asylum seekers' homes.
 
Since last October, the public prosecutor's office in Lüneburg, a town near Hamburg, has been investigating the network of smugglers.
 
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