Drug raid: Police search buildings in nine cities in North Rhine-Westphalia

Status: October 21, 2021 3:04 p.m.

The police searched buildings in several NRW cities on Thursday and arrested seven people. They are said to have operated professional marijuana plantations.

Some of the special units used chainsaws to gain access to buildings. In several cities in North Rhine-Westphalia there were searches early Thursday morning. As it is said from security circles, around 200 forces were deployed – in Gelsenkirchen, Duisburg, Essen, Bochum, Herne, Lohmar, Wiehl, Iserlohn and Engelskirchen. It’s about drug cultivation and trafficking on a large scale.

Marijuana plantations discovered

The police discovered a high-tech marijuana plantation in a former furniture store in Gelsenkirchen. The investigators were amazed at the professionally installed technology for lighting and ventilating the plants. The police even had to rent trucks to remove the more than 2,600 plants.

In the raid that the police in Hagen there were a total of seven preliminary arrests. The alleged mastermind of the gang was arrested in Duisburg. A total of 16 preliminary investigations are currently ongoing against the accused.

Chats kept investigators on track

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the raids were triggered by so-called Encrochat data. The messenger service is mainly used by criminals. The police in the Netherlands and France managed to siphon off more than 20 million secret messages last year.

60,000 participants used the elaborately encrypted chat service because it was said that the technology was difficult to crack. For the raid today, the German investigators had received the data from the French police.


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