North Macedonia crime ring sold passports to criminals

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Nine officials in North Macedonia’s interior ministry were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of illegally issuing passports to overseas criminals.

Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski told reporters the suspects worked in the ministry’s passport office and were arrested following a two-year surveillance operation.

His government received support from U.S. authorities and Interpol, the minister said.

Spasovski said the 215 people who received the passports and were given false identities included drug trafficking suspects and other criminals wanted on international arrest warrants. He did not give other details.

The arrested officials are due to appear Wednesday before a public prosecutor. A tenth official is wanted for questioning.

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