A police statement said that 17 suspected members of the ring had been arrested in raids in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg.
The ring provided foreign nationals, mostly Syrians and Lebanese, with falsified documents such as residency permits and travel documents.
The smugglers came to the attention of the authorities after several people making their way to Germany through Malaysia on falsified documents were arrested at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, which was used by the criminal ring as a transit port.
A 10-member Lebanese family travelling to Germany on false documents via Malaysia was arrested. The family was allowed to continue its journey to Germany on humanitarian grounds after it contacted the UN refugee office and the German embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
The main suspect is a 24-year-old man who was arrested in the western city of Essen. Handguns, machetes, swords, laser aimers and passports were found in his possession.
Some 570 law enforcement officials and policemen took part in the operation.
Germany has become the favoured destination for hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. – Reuters