Early Wednesday morning, German police launched a major crackdown on people-smuggling suspects, the German news agency dpa reported.
About 400 officers, including federal police and special models from GSG 9, searched more than 20 apartments and workplaces, mostly in Berlin but also in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Five men were arrested, 4 of them in Berlin, one in the city of Halle, and an investigation was started against 12 more suspects, dpa reports.
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The group is believed to have smuggled no fewer than 90 people, mostly from Turkey and Iraq, into Germany, each paying a thousand euros.
They were taken by plane from Istanbul to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. From there, they continued their journey by car to Germany, on the so-called Balkan route. Some of them were found in apartments searched by the police on Wednesday.
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The suspects mostly have Turkish or German citizenship, according to police.
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