German police raid organised crime families in Berlin, Hamburg

Berlin police launched raids early on Thursday targeting organised crime families in the German capital and the northern city of Hamburg, in an operation involving around 500 officers, dpa reported.

The police were acting on 27 search warrants and three arrest warrants, public prosecutors in Berlin wrote in a tweet. The exact locations of the raids were not immediately clear. Police said special security forces were also deployed in the raids.

The operation was part of investigations into the formation of a criminal organization and other crimes, Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor's office, said. The focus was suspected criminals within large families of Arab descent and their links to biker gangs, for example, he added.

Police and prosecutors are expected to give further details later on Thursday.

Arab clans in Berlin and other German cities have made headlines in recent years for their links to so-called cocaine taxis, an illegal drug delivery service, as well as tax evasion and money-laundering in the German rap scene.

Members of one organized crime family based in Berlin have been linked to spectacular heists at the capital's Bode-Museum in March 2017 and at the Green Vault, a baroque treasure trove in the eastern city of Dresden, in November 2019.


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