"Drug gang planned to kill top officials"

BELGRADE -- Darko Šarić's drug gang was planning murders of some high-ranking state officials, says Justice Ministry State Secretary Slobodan Homen.

Slobodan Homen (B92, file)
Slobodan Homen (B92, file)

Safety of some them was raised to the highest possible level because of information that Šarić's clan was preparing to retaliate and kill several top state officials, including the president, and those of Serbian police (MUP) and Security-Information Agency (BIA).

“It's especially indicative that the threats were made against Serbian President Boris Tadić who is - the way members of criminal structures understand it, the main bearer of the battle against organized crime,“ Homen told Beta news agency.

He said that beside Tadić, other targets included Special Prosecutor Miljko Radisavljević, Justice Minister Snežana Malović, and himself.

Homen stated that, according to operative information of Serbian intelligence services, there had been several plans for assassination of some officials which included surveillance of the houses they lived in, monitoring of their closest associates and close friends in order to determine their usual daily routines.

“Articles containing encrypted threatening messages were noted in several local newspapers in the region. According to the information obtained by our services, there were already developed plans for liquidation of several people involved in the investigation (against Šarić's clan) and highest state officials,“ Homen explained.

He added that the plan envisaged that several hitmen, originally from Montenegro but living in Belgrade, would in a synchronized and well-coordinated operation kill those who had been marked as the biggest disturbance and obstacle to the existence of the drug network in the region.

“Because of this and similar information, the safety of some officials has been raised to the highest possible level and they are now under full protection,” the state secretary explained.

He pointed out that several significant events in Serbia's combat against organized crime marked last year, such as breaking a drug dealers’ network in Operation Morava, and arrest of one of the leaders of the Belgrade underground, Sreten Jocić, aka Joca Amsterdam.

The most important operation in 2009 was Balkan Warrior, during which more than two tons of cocaine were seized and one of the biggest international criminal groups, which was supplying the European market, was broken up, Homen repeated.

“The safety of all state officials was additionally jeopardized by the uncovering of the clan led by Darko Šarić, and by the continuation of Operation Balkan Warrior, considering that there was information that the clan had been preparing retaliation and liquidation of several chiefs of MUP, BIA as well as top state officials,” Homen concluded.

Šarić, a Montenegrin who was given Serbian passport in 2005, is wanted in Serbia and is suspected to be the boss of the gang that last year tried to smuggle 2.7 tons of cocaine from South America to Europe. He is currently at large.