Macedonia’s Public Prosecutor's Office said on December 1 it has discovered the biggest laboratory producing synthetic drugs in Southeast Europe in the northwestern city of Tetovo, sources reported.
The lab, operated by a Macedonian-Serbian criminal group, was found after pre-investigative operations in the Skopje and Tetovo regions. This was the tenth organized criminal group discovered by the Public Prosecutor's Office this year.
“It’s about an internationally organized criminal group consisting of citizens of the Republic of Serbia and Macedonian citizens that illegally produced, owned, transported and mediated in the sale and purchase including other ways of illegally distributing narcotics, psychotropic substances, and precursors. Simultaneously, the group in Tetovo has manufactured an illegal laboratory for producing synthetic drugs and precursors with the intention of further sale and organizing deliveries in Macedonia, Serbia, and other countries” stated the press release issued by the Public Prosecution for Organized Crime.
The press release also said that this was the 10th crime group that was arrested by OJO for Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption.
Macedonia, alongside Albania, Montenegro and Croatia, are among the Balkan countries where drugs are produced or stored for trafficking through Bosnia & Herzegovina to Europe, according to data from the US department, released in March. Albania, once Europe's marijuana capital, has achieved significant success in stamping out drug cultivation.
The financial institutions of these countries have allegedly been involved in currency transactions involving significant proceeds from drug trafficking.
During the latest operation in Macedonia, the prosecutor’s office found a facility for the illegal production of synthetic drugs and seized large quantities of drugs, as well as raw materials for production, the office said in a statement.
The lab was set up by a criminal group of Macedonian and Serbian citizens, involved in the illegal production, processing and dealing of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The drug was intended for sale and distribution in Macedonia, Serbia and other countries.