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Germany arrests over 70 suspects in global crime bust

police raid in leverkusen
German police officers walk in front of a villa following a raid in the clan milieu in Leverkusen, Germany, June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

German police detained more than 70 suspects and searched over 150 locations in Germany as a part of a global crackdown on organised crime in 15 countries, authorities said on Tuesday.

The raids on Monday, focused in the western state of Hesse and in cooperation with Europol, were part of an investigation initiated by U.S. law enforcement authorities that started in 2018, Frankfurt public prosecutors office said.

Authorities seized hundreds of kilograms of drugs, more than 20 weapons, over 30 luxury cars and cash worth 250,000 euros, as well as IT equipment.

The suspects are accused of using prepaid phones containing an encrypted messaging app to deal in weapons and drugs, prosecutors said.

The raids, which involved nearly 1,500 law enforcement officers, were part of a European leg of a global sting in which criminals were given phones that allowed law enforcement officials to listen in on their conversations.

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