Police have found Germany's biggest-ever stash of heroin, with an estimated street value of 50 million euros ($60 million), hidden in a truckload of pickled cucumbers and garlic.
Police discovered 330 kg (730 pounds) of the highly refined heroin in a truck in the western city of Essen and arrested two men, public prosecutor Anette Milk said on Thursday.
The amount of heroin seized in the truck on September 22 was more than the total confiscated in 2013 by German police, which amounted to about 270 kilograms. The opiate was hidden in a 23-ton food shipment.
The Federal Criminal Police Office said Thursday a Syrian-Iraqi organized crime ring that has operated for years is believed to be behind the attempt to import the drugs. Police said the months-long investigation was part of efforts to target international organized crime.
Local media said the drugs came from Iran and the two men arrested were brothers belonging to a Syrian-Iraqi drug gang.
“The perpetrators in Germany - two men have been identified and arrested - are of Syrian descent and own a company here in Germany, a very legal facade,” Sabine Vogt, of the federal police office, told Reuters.
“But behind that facade criminal business was conducted. At the moment we are trying to identify additional suspects to apprehend them," Vogt said.
Some material for this report came from Reuters, AFP and AP.