Crime bosses convicted in Macedonia gambling sweep, 13 gang members jailed

Two fugitive alleged crime bosses have been jailed for life in Macedonia on charges of attempted murder and extortion, following a police crackdown on illegal gambling.

Court officials in the capital Skopje said 13 other alleged members of the criminal organization, who were present at the trial, also received sentences of between 15 months and 14 years and six months.

The convictions follow a police operation on the gang last year centered in Kocani, a town about 150 kilometers (95 miles) southeast of Skopje. Twenty people were arrested in multiple raids when police seized illegal gambling machines and firearms.

The defendants present denied the charges and their lawyers said they would appeal Tuesday's verdict.

Macedonia's conservative government said the police operation demonstrated its resolve to fight organized crime.