Macedonia cracks down on EU drug trafficking ring

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Macedonian police said Wednesday they smashed an international drug trafficking ring, arresting 29 people throughout the Balkans country.

The interior ministry said in a statement that the 29 suspects were arrested Wednesday in several Macedonian towns as part of simultaneous police swoops in Austria and Germany.

Among those arrested were six organisers of the group known as "the Frankfurt mafia" who are suspected of smuggling drugs to Austria and Germany through various channels, the statement said.

Several of those arrested owned apartments in Vienna and Frankfurt that were used for distribution of narcotics to lower level dealers.

Police searched homes and restaurants owned by group members and found a large amount of money and drugs, the statement said, providing no further details.

Macedonia lies on the so-called Balkan route used by organised crime gangs to smuggle drugs, arms and people into western Europe.

© 2010 AFP

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