BERLIN, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- German police conducted a major raid against an organized crime syndicate in the northwest of the country on Friday.
More than 350 security officers were involved in the operation directed by the Bremen state prosecution office in the city state of Bremen and the nearby state of Lower Saxony. In total, 18 buildings were searched during the early morning hours, resulting in the confiscation of ten real estate properties, luxury vehicles, an entire arms depot and large amounts of cash, gold and jewelry.
The raid formed part of ongoing investigations into a total of 14 suspects accused of organized criminal fraud and racketeering-related charges. Four individuals aged between 24 and 47 years were arrested during the search operation which was accompanied by a special forces commando.
The primary suspect, who is among the four who were remanded in custody on Friday, is believed to be the leader of an ethnic gang which runs a telephone scamming operation targeting elderly Germans. Using a call center located in Turkey, the gang is believed to have posed as the German police during conversations in which they alerted their victims to a fake group of burglars which was planning to rob them and persuaded them to transfer funds to a Turkish bank account for temporary safekeeping.
Aside from the phone scam, the suspects are also charged by judicial authorities with having completed fraudulent leasing deals in Germany over the course of several years.