VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian police said on Monday they had arrested 45 people for drug dealing that used underage asylum seekers to transport marijuana across the country to buyers.
Most of the suspects, who were between 15 and 48 years old, were Austrians and Afghans but others were from Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey and Germany, police in the western Alpine province of Tyrol said in a statement.
“The marijuana is thought to have been bought in Vienna ... and was subsequently smuggled to Tyrol in most cases by underage (and adult) asylum seekers or (Austrian) girls traveling by train,” it said.
Tens of thousands of Middle East and Asian migrants streamed into Austria, which borders eight countries, in 2015 before a clampdown on arrivals. A public backlash led to the entry of the anti-immigrant far right into Austria’s coalition government last month after a general election.
Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Mark Heinrich