Millions of fake passports seized

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The Independent Online

Police arrested nine people and broke a huge counterfeiting ring that churned out foreign passports and other documents and distributed them across Europe, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry said yesterday.

The gang, allegedly led by a 45-year-old Bulgarian identified only as D.D., operated out of the country's second biggest city, Plovdiv, said national police chief Valentin Petrov.

Police said the haul included millions of fake passports for more than 15 countries, visas for the United States and the European Union's passport-free Schengen area and permanent residence permits for Britain. They also recovered other documents including insurance policies and road toll stickers for Greece, as well as printing devices.

Gregory Houston, security attache at the US Embassy in Sofia, said the operation had prevented up to €50 million from reaching criminal hands, the BTA news agency reported.