SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) – Ten men were arrested Thursday in North Macedonia for running a smuggling ring bringing in migrants from neighboring Greece.
The Macedonian nationals, including a father and son who police claim are the ringleaders, allegedly brought in at least 100 migrants from the Middle East and other countries over a 10-month period. The migrants had hoped to move on from North Macedonia via the Balkans to more affluent European countries.
Police spokesman Toni Angelovski said most of the migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Egypt and had all previously lived in Greece.
The ring allegedly operated a network of transit houses in four cities, including the capital Skopje. Allegedly, each migrant was charged 700 euros for the trip.
If convicted and convicted, the suspects face sentences of up to 13 years in prison.
The Greek border with North Macedonia has been closed for months because of the pandemic, but the trade networks remain active.
According to police, border authorities prevented nearly 25,000 attempts by migrants to illegally enter northern Macedonia from Greece in the first nine months of this year.
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