Swede arrested for people smuggling

A Swedish citizen and a permanent Swedish resident have been arrested in Macedonia on suspicion of people smuggling.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed the news on Friday.

“Two people who are resident in Sweden were taken into custody on Wednesday,” said Cecilia Julin at the foreign ministry’s information service.

Both men are in their thirties. Julin confirmed that one is a Swedish citizen and the other is not, but has a permanent residence permit in the country.

The men were arrested trying to cross the border between Macedonia and Kosovo. The bus held nineteen people, all of whom were carrying Swedish passports. Police said that in many cases the passport photos did not match the appearance of the passport holders.

Following a search of the bus the police retrieved more Swedish passports, Swedish residency and work permit documents and lists of names of people previously smuggled. Both the suspected organizers of the smuggling were born in Kosovo and now live in southern Sweden, where they run a tourist office.

The men are now in custody in Skopje, Macedonia’s capital. Swedish diplomats have not yet had direct contact with the men, said Cecilia Julin said.

“They have not tried to contact us. We shall try to contact them after the weekend, but they have already been given a public defender.”