Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Serbia extradites cocaine smuggling suspect to Macedonia

SKOPJE, Macedonia: Serbian officials on Thursday extradited to Macedonia a woman suspected of organizing a record €45 million (US$61 million) cocaine shipment confiscated in January in this small Balkan country.

Stanislava Cocorovska-Poletan was arrested on an international warrant in Belgrade four months ago.

Under heavy security at the Tabanovce border crossing, black-masked Serbian special police officers handed over Cocorovska-Poletan to Macedonian authorities.

She faces drug smuggling charges for allegedly masterminding the shipment of 483 kilograms (1065 pounds) of cocaine seized in a truck near Macedonia's border with Kosovo. The truck driver, a Macedonian national, has also been charged with drug smuggling.

It was the largest quantity of the drug ever seized in Macedonia.

Police said the cocaine was from Venezuela, and was being transported from the Macedonian port city of Bar to Greece.

Cocorovska-Poletan, who is suspected of links with the powerful Serbian underworld, had lived in Belgrade for the past 15 years.

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