October 31, 2009 / 1:04 PM / 10 years ago

Serbia police detain 100 people in drugs raids

BELGRADE, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Serbian police detained 100 people on Saturday in a major crackdown on drug traffickers launched simultaneously across the Balkan country.

"We have managed to disrupt a trafficking network that peddled drugs into schools, bars and other places attracting the youth," Serbia’s Interior Minister Ivica Dacic told a news conference.

He said the sweep involved 2,000 police officers and was for the first time carried out across the country. The police raided around 600 business premises and private homes, he added.

"We have kept in custody 100 suspects out of 500 that were arrested and seized dozens of kilograms of various drugs, a large cache of weapons and ammunition, a number of stolen cars, as well as 1.5 million forged dollars," Dacic said.

He said the police found evidence that links 100 suspects kept in custody directly with the crimes, while the remainder will be further investigated.

The fight against organised crime is one of the key conditions for closer ties with the European Union.

Serbia lies on a key transit route for drugs smuggled from the Middle East to Western markets. (Reporting by Fedja Grulovic; Writing by Maja Zuvela)



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