Romania smashes drug smuggling gang

Bucharest  - The Romanian authorities aided by colleagues from the US and several EU states have broken up a 17-person drug and cigarette smuggling gang, the Romanian border police said Monday.

The gang contained members from Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine with the US-based Ukrainian leader appearing before a New York court. Those arrested were also charged with money laundering.

The gang is suspected of having coordinated the transport of cocaine from Latin America into Western Europe. They are also believed to have smuggled cigarettes from Eastern Europe into Western Europe via Romania.

The investigation took eight months and involved Romania's border police, secret service, special police units as well as tax and customs authorities. dpa