Mr. Krause, the investigators struck a big blow against organized drug traffickers this week. Not just in Germany, but worldwide. The basis for this was unprecedented investigative measures by the FBI, followed by Europol and many nations, not just from Europe. In Germany, the focus was on the Rhine-Main area, two suspected gangs have been identified, and 14 suspects are in custody. Why is this story so important?
We have gained a unique insight into their organizational structures. By communicating with encrypted cell phones, crypto cell phones, the suspects spoke much more openly than they would otherwise have ever done. Clear names and locations were given, clear procedures. We were able to determine all of this and thus recognize the differentiated structures. Usually, when you investigate classically, you’re trying to get one level up from a person selling drugs on the street. It is troublesome. The US law enforcement coup gave us a much deeper insight right from the start.
What did the suspects reveal?
The actual agreements on the alleged commission of the crime: who is going where, when and what is doing. The addresses for handovers, who gives money or drugs to whom. Personal descriptions of those with whom they met. Which code words have been used to verify yourself. The bookings of business deals, i.e. who brought how much where and received how much money for it. Everything about these deals was communicated about it. Because it’s so easy to use your mobile phone, you always have it with you and you can get in touch immediately. That’s why it’s a gold mine for us. We see how such groups prepare, plan and carry out deeds and subsequently process, book and distribute the profits.
Who are the groups that were the focus in Hessen?
In the investigative proceedings conducted by us, there were two different groups that were based in the Main-Kinzig district and the Rhine-Main area. These are alleged to have mainly traded in cocaine, cannabis and synthetic narcotics. One can say that this is said to have been a kind of wholesale business for the Rhine-Main area, from imports and profitable resale to the company’s own production of synthetic narcotics.
There is also the suspicion that there was a sophisticated organization in both groups and that they were structured in a similar way to companies: with managers, an organizational level, an accounting level and a worker level. Various suspects are said to have performed various functions: from renting warehouses, converting vehicles into hiding places, setting up an encrypted IT infrastructure to managing cash holdings and booking business deals.
Are there any references to clan crime?
We never give information about individual suspects and possible identifying features, so I can’t comment on them.
What was the reaction to the searches – did no one at least suspect that something was coming?
I can say so much about this: We have found all the people we wanted to find. Also in other European countries. Nobody could go into hiding.