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NEW YORK, April 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Nafi Elezi, a 42-year-old Macedonian citizen, arrived today in New York from Bulgaria to face charges of alien-smuggling.
Elezi was indicted by a grand jury in New York on eight felony counts, including conspiracy to smuggle aliens into the United States from January 2000 to December 2004. He was also accused of obtaining and producing fraudulent European passports as a part of his alleged smuggling ring.
Elezi was apprehended at the Bulgarian-Macedonian border in July 2005. He was extradited to the United States by a Bulgarian court.
Elezi was accused of being the leader of an international network to smuggle hundreds of immigrants from countries in Eastern Europe, such as Albania and Macedonia, via Bulgaria and then Mexico to the United States.
The indictments say the aliens paid as much as $16,000 to get to the United States.
Elezi faces a maximum of 80 years in prison, if convicted on all charges.