Serbian authorities have smashed a weapons-smuggling ring from the Balkans to France in a major crackdown, Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said. The police also detained a suspect over attacks in Macedonia.
The security forces seized drugs and automatic weapons in a major series of raids on Friday.
The officials arrested "one of the biggest drug lords in Balkans" alongside four other people suspected of smuggling heroin from Turkey to Serbia and western Europe, the Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said.
"During the last four months, the police have seized 13 kilograms (29 pounds) of heroin belonging to this crime organization. Through those operations, the authorities have discovered both the organizers and the top-tier smugglers," the minister said.
In a separate raid, the authorities also arrested an alleged drug dealer suspected of smuggling a total of 200 kilograms of narcotics, as well as three people who allegedly tried to bribe a witness in a case against the smuggler.
Also on Friday, the Serbian and the French police destroyed "the biggest weapons smuggling ring" connecting the two countries, the minister said. The coordinated effort saw four people arrested in Serbia and nine in France, according to Stefanovic.
In addition, the authorities captured a fugitive wanted on an international warrant, who allegedly provided logistical support for terrorists in Macedonia. The suspect was arrested on the border with the Albanian-majority Kosovo.
Amajor clash between Macedonian security forces and Albanian combatants
in Kumanovo claimed 22 lives in May this year.
dj/rc (AP, Beta, Fena, MIA)