BERLIN (AFP) - German customs officials have found 45kg of heroin hidden inside the fabric of Iranian carpets intercepted at an airport.
The nine carpets, with heroin-packed chords in their weave, were bound for Poland, France, Belgium and Africa. The drugs had a street value of several million euros.
The find led to arrests in the three European destination countries, said customs service spokeswoman Heike Wilsdorf, without giving numbers or further details.
The highly-refined heroin was packed inside sheathed cords that were "extremely cleverly and elaborately woven into nine carpets," said a customs service statement on Tuesday.
German top-selling daily Bild immediately dubbed the discovery the "flying carpets".
The drugs were spotted at the airport of the eastern city of Leipzig in X-ray images of the carpets, which were suspiciously heavy, each packing 5kg of heroin.
Four of the separately shipped carpets were bound by onward air transport for Belgium, three to Poland and one to France, Ms Wilsdorf told AFP.
The customs service said one was addressed to Congo but did not specify whether the destination was Democratic Republic of Congo or the Republic of Congo.
"With their intuition, the customs officers in Leipzig have dealt a serious blow to international organised drug smugglers," said Mr Michael Meister, parliamentary state secretary to the finance ministry which oversees the customs service.