Macedonian police arrest fugitive

August 15, 2014 GMT

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian police say they have arrested a fugitive convict suspected of heading several organized crime rings in Macedonia and Slovakia.

Police said Friday they arrested Arslan Poda, 50, and his suspected associate Ekrem Bekirovski, 39, during a raid of three houses on the outskirts of the Macedonian capital Skopje. An investigative judge ordered Poda held for an initial 30-day detention.

Poda was sentenced in absentia in 2006 to 10 years in prison for kidnapping Kosovo businessman Ljuljzim Begaj and demanding a 500,000-euro ($670 million) ransom from his family. Begaj was rescued by Macedonian police and no ransom was paid.

Slovakia had also issued an international arrest warrant for Poda, who was sentenced in absentia there in 2007 to 14 years for illegal drugs production and possession, and arms trafficking.