International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Serbian-led police operation leads to arrests, cocaine seizure

September 1, 2023

The Internal Affairs Ministry (MUP) said that the Serbian police headed an international operation which led to the seizure of 2.7 tons of cocaine and several arrests.

According to a MUP press release the operation was coordinated with Europol and the police in several European countries in cooperation with Serbian organized crime prosecutors and the Security Information Agency (BIA).

Europol said in its press release that it supported the dismantling of a large-drug trafficking organisation, investigated under the Europol coordinated Operational Taskforce Balkan Cartel. The Serbia-led operation, involved law enforcement authorities from Brazil, Croatia, France, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia, and was supported by the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N).

The Europol press release said that August 24 action day led to 6 arrests, 15 house searches, the seizure of 2.7 tons of cocaine as well as two high-end vehicles, luxury watches and over EUR 550,000 in cash. It said that a large number of bank accounts and properties were blocked for the duration of the on-going financial investigation with investigators identifying a Serbian national as one of the main organisers of the criminal network.

“The takedown of three encrypted communication tools used by criminals, namely Encrochat, Sky ECC and Anom, has given international law enforcement an unprecedented insight into criminal networks and how they function. One trend uncovered was the important role of criminal networks largely composed of nationals from nationals of countries in the Balkan region play in the global cocaine trade,” Europol said and added that it created the Operational Taskforce Balkan Cartel to provide a response to this threat. Europol said that the police in Brazil, Croatia, France, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain took part in the operation.

The MUP press release said that 4 arrests were made in Serbia.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/serbian-led-police-operation-leads-to-arrests-cocaine-seizure/

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