Investigators in the Austrian cities of Graz and Vienna have made a series of arrests of migrants who they have caught carrying and attempting to sell over €300,000 worth of street drugs.
Austrian police have arrested 30 migrant drug dealers, mostly from North Africa, in a successful drug bust under the came name “Operation Lara”. In addition to the €300,000 worth of street drugs, investigators also seized €92,000 euros in cash during the operation, reports Austrian paper Kurier.
At a press conference on Friday police displayed large amounts of hashish, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and the €92,000 euros that the migrants had made selling drugs. The operation marks one of the largest drug busts in recent months and follows a similar raid made in Vienna earlier this year in which police noted the majority of street dealers were migrants from Nigeria.
Of the 30 men arrested, 23 were migrants from Algeria, four from Afghanistan, two from Morocco, and one from Chechnya and are said to have smuggled the drugs into Austria from the neighbouring Czech Republic.
Operation Lara led to the arrest of a further 18 Algerian migrants on drugs charges earlier this year according to authorities in the Austrian region of Styria. Police confirmed the migrants sold nearly 70lbs of marijuana to around 250 different people in the city of Graz. A further raid on the migrants’ accommodation saw another 10lbs of marijuana and €20,635 recovered by police.
In Vienna, raids have seen even larger amounts of drugs being discovered in the possession of more Algerian migrants. In October, police in the Austrian capital found 35lbs of cannabis, 44 tabs of ecstasy, four ounces of cocaine, and nearly 20lbs of hashish.
Migrant drug crime in Austria has also led to increased of violence between ethnic groups in Vienna. In March, a massive brawl of 50 Afghan and Chechen migrants armed with iron bars and knives turned the streets of the capital into a war zone. Two migrants were stabbed and required hospitalisation.
In neighbouring Germany, the number of migrant drug traffickers is increasing in Kottbusser Tor in Berlin. Though the area has long been associated with drugs, the new migrants arriving from North Africa have, according to locals, made the area far more dangerous and have pushed many of the older dealers out of the area.