BUCHAREST: Romanian police on Tuesday detained 15 border police and custom workers after a massive sting operation that involved five western crossings with Serbia, Mediafax newswire reported.
The detainees are suspected of taking bribes and facilitating the smuggling of cigarettes in Serbia. Investigators are also searching homes of smuggle suspects in ten counties.
The authorities have started as many as 130 searches in the homes and work places of customs workers, making it one of the biggest operations in the country.
Anti-corruption prosecutors have issued the first order of detention of the 15 officials, while two other border officials were ordered to leave the country.
Last week, authorities arrested 59 border police and customs workers for cigarette contraband at the Siret customs in northern Romania on the border with Ukraine.
Romania is trying to curb corruption on its border in a bid to prove that it is fit to join the European passport-free Schengen zone. The Schengen agreement now covers 25 countries, most of them European Union members.
(BNO NEWS )