Italians bust Albanian-run prostitution/drug ring

ROME, Jun 21, 2000 -- (AFP) Police on Tuesday cracked an Albanian-run prostitution and drug ring in central Italy and arrested more than 30 suspects, judicial officials said Tuesday.

A total of 219 people came under investigation in the two-year inquiry and 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of heroin, cocaine and hashish were seized.

During the investigation police searched more than 70 homes throughout Italy and intercepted 50,000 telephone calls.

They said young Albanian women were forced to work in Italy following threats against their families, often after they were kidnapped in the Balkans country.

Marriages were often arranged with Italian men to gain legal residence papers. Twelve of those arrested were Italian nationals.

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