North Macedonia: 5 migrant smuggling suspects arrested


SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Five men have been arrested in North Macedonia, accused of running a smuggling ring that brought migrants from neighboring Greece.

The five Macedonian nationals, including two brothers, are accused of smuggling at least 100 migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere over several months from the Greek border northward to Serbia, police said Tuesday.

The ring allegedly operated a network of transit houses in southern border villages that were used by the migrants who were each charged 700 euros ($825) for the trip north.

The Greek border with North Macedonia has been closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic but trafficking networks remain active.

Police say border authorities have prevented nearly 25,000 attempts by migrants to illegally enter North Macedonia from Greece in the first nine months of this year.

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