Police said Thursday that four of the suspects allegedly purchased 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of juvenile European eels, known as glass eels, with estimated value of 120,000 euros ($135,000), in Bulgaria for a buyer in Malaysia.
The European eel is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Authorities discovered the live cargo hidden in a car in which the four were travelling during a routine highway control. Police say the eels were to be flown from Skopje's international airport to Kuala Lumpur. The customs official is accused of granting the four a free pass from Bulgaria into North Macedonia.