German authorities bust €50m worth of heroin smuggled in jars of pickled garlic

The shipment of 330kg is believed to contain 1.3 million doses

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The Independent Online

German authorities have seized 330kg of heroin worth €50 million (£39.4 million), which smugglers had packed inside jars of pickled garlic and pickled cucumber before shipping the load into Europe.

The jars filled with heroin were smuggled within a 23-tonne shipment of the pickled items in a truck that had travelled to Germany from Iran.  

Authorities intercepted seized the shipment on 22 September near the western city of Essen, and its contents are believed to hold 1.3 million doses, with a street value of €50 million.

Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said on Thursday it believes the shipment was orchestrated by a Syrian-Iraqi organised crime ring that has been in operation for years.


Two brothers in Germany aged 30 and 35 were arrested in September in connection with the case, alongside a Dutchman who lived in Belgium.

The bust is understood to be the result of a months-long investigation, part of the BKA’s efforts to target international organised crime.

Authorities refused to say whether the drugs are thought to have been carried to Europe from Iran, or whether they were packed into the shipment at some point en route to Germany. 

Additional reporting by AP