Drug raid on Nigerian gang sees 50 arrests

Police in Vienna have arrested 50 people in connection with a Nigerian drug ring which operated in the Austrian capital.

Drug raid on Nigerian gang sees 50 arrests
File photo: Paul Gillingwater

Investigators said they had been on the trail of the gang for the past three years, and that in that time it has netted a profit of over €6 million. 

21 kilos of illegal drugs, mainly cocaine and heroin, were seized during raids on Thursday. However, police told a press conference on Friday that the gang would probably cut the drugs with other substances to increase the amount that could be sold on the street to around 100 kilos.

The drugs were mainly sold in Vienna by Nigerian dealers. Detective Georg Rabensteiner said that 100 kilos of drugs would “cover” demand in Vienna for a few months. 

Photo: LPD Wien

Police first became aware of the gang's existence at the end of 2012, when a Nigerian man was caught smuggling €250,000 in cash hidden within cars which were brought from Vienna to Nigeria. An investigation revealed that the money came from drug trafficking. Gang members regularly sent over large amounts of drugs to Austria via ten people who acted as drug mules. 

The couriers would swallow between one and one and a half kilograms of drugs, which were then sold in Vienna. Police said that the cocaine and heroin which was seized was 80 percent pure. 









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Austrian teenagers among top ‘binge drinkers’ in Europe

Austrian teenagers are prone to binge drinking - according to a European-wide study on alcohol and drug consumption among school children.

Austrian teenagers among top 'binge drinkers' in Europe
Photo: Nejmiez/Wikimedia

Across Europe, smoking and drinking among 15- and 16-year-old school students are generally showing signs of decline – except in Austria where both remain comparatively high, according to the study published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (ESPAD).

Austria exceeds the ESPAD average by 20 percentage points on alcohol use in the last 30 days, and binge drinking is also more common.

The proportion of students reporting cigarette use in the last 30 days amounts to 28 percent in Austria, compared to 21 percent for all countries.

88 percent of Austrian 15 and 16 year olds admitted to having drunk alcohol at least once. 79 percent said that cigarettes were easily obtainable, despite strict laws on tobacco use.

“Heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking) remains a concern,” the study found, with the highest numbers of teen binge drinkers recorded in Austria, Cyprus and Denmark.

21 percent of Austrian students admitted to having experimented with illegal drugs – the most common drug used was cannabis. Across Europe the figure was lower, with 18 percent of students reporting having used an illicit drug at least once in their life. Illegal drug use among teens is highest in the Czech Republic.

Vienna's Drug Policy Coordinator Michael Dressel admitted that it is worrying that Austrian school children are able to get hold of cigarettes and alcohol so easily. “There is room for improvement. But Austria – like the Scandinavian countries – does not have a prohibition policy. The aim is to raise the health literacy of young people. This is sustainable. When young people grow up in countries with strict prohibitions on alcohol, they are more likely to drink themselves unconscious,” he said. 

Austrian teenagers could blame their parents for setting a bad example. “Alcohol consumption is well integrated in Austria. There is no large group of abstainers,” addiction expert Alfred Uhl told the Kurier newspaper. However, he added that things have improved since the 1970s, with alcohol consumption falling by 20 percent and less alcohol-related road deaths and workplace accidents. 

According to the World Health Organization, 46 percent of Austrian adults smoke and alcohol consumption is higher than in most EU countries.

OECD figures suggest Austrians drink 1.1 litres more alcohol than the EU average – equivalent to 12.2 litres of alcohol per person every year. They are also the second largest consumer per capita of alcohol in the entire OECD.