Extortion, Illegal Possession of Firearms and Explosives, Instigation of a Murder, Accessory after the Fact, Counterfeiting Documents.
Organized criminal group (OCG) consisted of 21 members, citizens of the Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, operating on the territories of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Five citizens of the Republic of Serbia and one citizen of the Montenegro were included in criminal charges of Serbian authorities; others were prosecuted by the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two criminal proceedings were conducted simultaneously and in coordination of authorities of both countries.
OCG was dealing predominantly with drug trafficking and extortions on the territories of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. The leader of the OCG, Serbian citizen, was performing his activities, managing the whole OCG business from territory of Republic of Serbia, but no drugs was seized in the territory of Serbia. He had direct contacts with his partners and group members in Montenegro who send the drug to OCG members in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were distributing and selling drugs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well in Croatia. The OCG also had good connections in the local police, therefore some of the defendants prosecuted in Bosnia and Herzegovina were police officers. Group had pyramidal hierarchical structure with clear roles of every member of the group and strict, almost military way of command. The leader of the group communicated with the limited number of members and other members were only communicating with their superiors by using large number of mobile phone numbers called specials. This group formed specific cells in order to perform specific activities i.e. to commit particular criminal offences. OCG was involved in buying, trafficking and distribution of cocaine, purchasing of bombs and explosive devices, vehicles, mobile phones etc.
The group planned to commit a murder of six persons, robbery and trafficking of large amount of cocaine to Serbia, which was prevented by starting this police operation and arrest of the leader and OCG members.
At the end of 2008, Serbian police intensively collected intelligence on OCG which was suspected for preparation of several criminal offences – robbery, extortion, kidnapping, murder and drug trafficking on the territories of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In February 2009 in close cooperation with Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime operation “Valter” was initiated. Contacts with the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina were made soon and exchange of data and information on OCG activities was initiated.
The fact that leader of OCG was situated in Serbia managing the whole OCG business from Serbian territory was of particular interest for Serbian law enforcement agencies. He had direct contacts with the members or associates of the OCG in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was planning a murder of six persons on the territories of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, robbery of the service for money transfer, as well as illegal production, keeping and circulation of a large amount of cocaine from Columbia to Serbia and Western Europe. Members of the OCG operated on the territories of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia committing or planning to commit serious crimes.
These criminal offences were prevented by prompt and coordinated action of law enforcement agencies from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (on which territories members of the OCG were situated).
In this case were used supervision and recording of phone and other communications as well as optical recording of persons. This special investigative technique was applied according to the Article 504 of the CPC (see more in the Section 5.) Five persons were under surveillance and 51 orders for interception and supervision of phone communication of members of the OCG was issued by Investigative judge, with more than 200 telephone numbers which were under interception during the course of investigation.
5 apartments of estimated total value of 435.000 euro and 6 vehicles.
Legal basis of confiscation : Law on Seizure and Confiscation of Proceeds from Crime within financial investigation (Chapter V, art. 50 – 61)
Cooperation with responsible authorities of the Bosnia and Herzegovina was established in early stage of the case. This cooperation was based on international legal instruments, bilateral agreement and domestic laws on mutual legal assistance in criminal maters.
Cooperation was mostly direct and consisted of exchange of information, examining witnesses, providing evidences and evidence materials (audio, video materials, transcripts of intercepted communication…), obtaining documentation from crime scene, expert witnesses' analyses, assistance in financial investigation, etc. Mutual legal assistance was carried out through official channels of communication i.e. via Ministry of Justice as well.
No JITs were established, but investigations were led in parallel and cooperation was very intensive and carried out on daily basis. Actions of responsible authorities of both countries were coordinated and performed simultaneously (when possible).
Five citizens of the Republic of Serbia and one citizen of the Montenegro were included in criminal charges of Serbian authorities; others were prosecuted by the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two criminal proceedings were conducted simultaneously and in coordination of authorities of both countries.
Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime of Serbia submitted Request for investigation to the Investigative judge of the Special Department for Organized Crime of Belgrade High Court who opened judicial investigation on September 2nd, 2009. The indictment was raised on November 26th, 2009. The trial started soon after and first instance judgment was made on November 26, 2010, a year after the indictment was raised.
All parties filed complaints on length of sentence before the Court of Appeal. Final judgment was reached on June 10th, 2011. The Court of Appeal rejected appeals as unfounded and upholded the first-instance judgment.