An Afghan asylum seeker in Austria has been arrested for using his social benefits to make repeated trips back to his home country to set up a drug network.
Prosecutors have not released any information on the quantity of the drugs involved in the scheme, but said it was “a substantial amount,” according to The Local. Three other asylum seekers have also been arrested for smaller roles in the drug ring.
Asylum seekers in Austria are entitled to upward of $1,000 per month in social benefits, depending on the region, while their asylum applications are pending. When the city where the suspect lived suspended benefits for asylum seekers altogether, he instead moved to the capital of Vienna so he could continue to get the monthly deposits.
The man claims he has been going on holiday back to the war-torn country he fled, and denies the charges against him.
Asylum seekers are usually only allowed to leave their host countries for a total of three weeks per year to keep their immigration status.
German newspaper Die Welt recently reported that many asylum seekers visit the countries they claim are unsafe while their immigration cases are processed.
Afghanistan is the world’s biggest opium producer.
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