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Serbian Police Detain 35 In Organized Crime Swoop

Serbian President Boris Tadic

Serbian President Boris Tadic

BELGRADE (Reuters) -- Serbian police detained 35 people including 19 police officers on suspicion of fraud, embezzlement and abuse of office, an Interior Ministry official has said.

"Our action is still going on," the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. "The suspects will be questioned about their role in smuggling, money laundering, and tax evasion rings."

The predawn police raids in Raska, Novi Pazar, and Kraljevo, towns in southwest Serbia, followed a pledge by President Boris Tadic last week to crack down on organized crime and corruption.

They are also part of a Serbian bid to build closer ties with the European Union, which it hopes to join at some point in the future.

If convicted, the suspects could be jailed for up to 15 years.