Berlin - A total of 200 police officers, including several special forces units, searched 14 apartments throughout the city on Tuesday, arresting 13 people between 23 and 45 years old suspected of being part of a narcotics ring. The officers seized €47,000 in cash, a loaded handgun, 2,800g cocaine and 8kg of marijuana during the raids, prosecutors said.
Police also seized three cars that were used as stashes and delivery vehicles, prosecutors said. The raids targeted an alleged cocaine delivery service known as "BerlinExpress" that has amassed considerable assets. The raids were based on on six arrest warrants and 14 search warrants.
The suspects allegedly made 2,200 cocaine sales earning them an estimated €478,000, prosecutors said on Twitter. The group were thought to have advertised their wares in chat groups with the slogan "The safest and easiest way to become your stuff! (sic)" Cocaine was marked with a snowflake symbol. Also on offer were ecstasy, LSD, Viagra and other pills.
"Today's operation against coke taxis shows how gangs are increasingly international and mobile. More and more networks and business are arranged using chat apps," said Norbert Cioma, head of the GdP police union in Berlin, said on Twitter. He pushed for politicians to update privacy laws to allow them to keep pace.