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Human organ smugglers apprehended

A CZECH doctor who attempted to smuggle human organs and body parts, including heart tissue and blood, through the Slovak-Czech border crossing at Skalica was arrested in what is Slovakia's first-ever human organs trafficking case.

The doctor, not named by the police, was arrested on July 2. According to Silvia Balázsiková, a spokeswoman for the Slovak Customs Office, the human tissue was being transported in a portable ice box. Inside were 16 half-litre plastic vessels containing heart tissue and bone material, and 17 tubes of blood.

She said the smuggled material could have been used in the transplantation of bone marrow as well as leukemia treatments.

"The tissue and blood were most probably illegally extracted from dead bodies and were likely destined for some EU country to be used for research purposes," Balázsiková said at a press conference on July 2.

The doctor faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Trnava regional police spokesman Martin Kroch said the doctor extracted the tissue from yet unknown corpses between May 9 and July 1 in a hospital in Skalica. The head of the hospital was not available for comment.

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