North Macedonia police break up migrant smugglers ring

Police in North Macedonia say they've broken up a criminal ring of migrant smugglers and filed charges against 21 people, including a police officer, for illegal trafficking.

Police said Saturday they raided 20 locations in four cities, including the capital, Skopje, detained 17 people and seized several cellphones, weapons and travel documents, as well as significant amounts of drugs and money. Three men are on the run and one is already in jail on another charge.

Since May of 2018, the group has organized illegal transport for migrants in Greece to the North Macedonian border with Serbia, where the migrants were temporarily sheltered. Migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Bangladesh, were charged up to 300 euros ($339) each.

An investigative judge ordered 11 people to be placed in 30-day custody.