AP NEWS

N. Macedonia drug ring dismantled, helped by Serbia, Austria

December 27, 2019 GMT

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) —

Authorities in North Macedonia say 12 people have been arrested in a crackdown on a heroin and cocaine smuggling ring, with assistance from authorities in Austria and Serbia.

Police said Friday that the crime ring was based in North Macedonia but raids and arrests had occurred in all three countries over several weeks. A total of 17 kilograms (37.5 pounds) of heroin and 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine with a combined estimated market value of 1 million euros ($1.1 million) were seized, police said but did not give any further details.

Eleven North Macedonian nationals, including two women, and one Albanian national were arrested during the operations.

Earlier this year, the European Union praised North Macedonia’s recent progress in dismantling drug-smuggling and other organised crime groups. The country has been a candidate to join the 28-member European bloc since 2005.