Zug police arrest 15 in 'biggest' drug bust
Law enforcement officials in Zug say they have cracked the biggest drug smuggling ring ever uncovered in the canton with the arrest of a woman and 14 men and the seizure of 55 kilograms of heroin.
Those arrested, mostly Turkish citizens, belonged to a group that regularly imported “large quantities” of illegal drugs to Switzerland from Turkey, cantonal police said in a news release issued on Tuesday.
The arrests occurred between May 2013 and October of this year, police said.
They estimated the volume of heroin imported into the country totalled 300 million kilos with an approximate value of 10 million francs.
Zug police, supported by federal criminal police and federal customs border guards, seized assets worth tens of thousands of francs, weapons, ammunition and a dozen cars, while searching 20 homes.
In a statement chief prosecutor Christof Winkler called the drug bust “the biggest narcotics operation ever undertaken by Zug cantonal law enforcement officials”.
Most of the people arrested had permits to live in Zug and included those operating a small business but most of them are unemployed and received social assistance or disability benefits.
In addition to 11 Turkish citizens, two Swiss citizens of Turkish origin, and Iranian and a Dutchman were arrested.
One man has already been jailed, ten remain in custody and three have been released while further investigations remain under way.
The case against one of those arrested was dropped.
Swiss police launched their investigation after receiving a tip-off from police in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.
The first arrest was made in May 2013 when a courier was caught trying to bring 16 kilos of heroin across the border, police told a press conference.
In the summer of 2013, three more people were arrested after which the drug ring reorganized but further arrests followed.
According to police, the drug traffickers travelled to Turkey by car where they obtained drugs which they hid in the vehicles, driven by couriers who were frequently accompanied by women and children who were unaware of the illegal activity.
Investigations into the case continue.