During a raid in five federal states early this morning, the federal police discovered more than 100 Syrians who were suspected to have been smuggled into the country. Five arrest warrants were executed – against two women and a man in Stade and a woman and a man each in Gladbeck, a federal police spokesman told the German Press Agency.

“All five are also Syrians,” he added. The five arrested are themselves asylum seekers and are all family members. Overall, the alleged gang is accused of smuggling more than 100 Syrians over time.

According to the investigation, the suspected smugglers each paid 3,000 to 7,000 euros for their illegal entry into Germany, the spokesman said. In addition to gang and commercial smuggling of foreigners, the suspects are also accused of money laundering: They used their illegal income to buy gold jewelry, for example. “Then they are no longer sitting on the money,” said the spokesman.

As the Federal Police Directorate at Frankfurt am Main Airport announced, more than 350 officers were deployed in apartments and houses in seven municipalities on behalf of the Stade public prosecutor’s office: in Stade (Lower Saxony), Gladbeck (North Rhine-Westphalia), Fulda, Kassel (both Hesse), Bremen, Balge (Lower Saxony) and Kelheim (Bavaria).