MACEDONIA BUSTS INT. HUMAN SMUGGLING RING
Macedonian Police cracked down on an international human smuggling ring in a comprehensive regional operation, in which as many as 16 persons were arrested in Macedonia.
The Ministry of Interior announced that the action was carried out late Monday and Tuesday morning on different locations in Skopje and Gevgelija, after four-month surveillance and other operational measures.
As many as 150 members of the special task forces took part in the busting operation, in addition to 100 regular police officers, deployed in two dozen teams.
All detainees are Macedonian citizens. During the search of their homes and other locations, the police found several passports, stamps and photographs; intended for making false passports and personal ID cards of other states; a handgun and other items.
The arrested are suspected of having smuggled over 100 migrants from Albania, Turkey, and China. Pakistan and other Middle East countries.
"The price of their admission, producing personal documents and transfer to Greece totaled about 5.000 euros per person", said Ivo Kotevski, assistant to the Interior Minister.
Four of the 16 detainees were in charge of organizing the migrant groups, and the others were responsible for receiving, boarding provision, producing false documents and illegal transport.
The Police are due to hand over the detainees to an investigative judge, once they complete the questioning procedure.
The busting operation, coordinated by the SECI Center in Bucharest, was conducted in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, BiH and Austria.