Accused drug lord starts presenting his defense

Darko Saric on Wednesday told the Special Court for Organized Crime in Belgrade that he did not commit any of the crimes cited in the indictment against him.

Source: Tanjug
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Saric, a Montenegrin who was given Serbian citizenship in the mid-2000s, stands accused of masterminding the trafficking of a total of 5.7 tons of cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe.

The defendant, who was a fugitive for several years before he was arrested last March, today started presenting his defense before the court, and said the accusations against him were manufactured in order to present him as "the greatest evil in Serbia."

"All charges were constructed by the prosecution based on the wishes of the former government, not on the evidence. Their main goal was to spin the public (to think) I am the greatest evil in Serbia, in fact concealing their own actions, " said Saric.

According to him, after the cooperating witnesses, he was expected to plead guilty and point the finger "at people from the world of politics, especially in Montenegro."

"It's very difficult to defend myself when I am charged with anything and everything. This trial cannot be fair when politicians, media, analysts, psychologists, astrologers, are all taking part. They are all putting us on trial, you are here only formally," the defendant told the panel of judges.

He added that the charges against him were brought based on the statements of collaborating witnesses Nebojsa Joksovic and Drasko Vukovic, but said they "told untruths" and that he and his lawyers would prove this with the help of physical evidence.

Speaking about the third-accused in the trial, his cousin Zeljko Vujanovic, Saric said he "simply could not be hired to do anything, let alone to (smuggle) cocaine, because he has no capacity for that."

"Well you've seen what he's good for here as well. Whenever I called him on the phone, he was asleep," said Saric.

He also claimed that he never met Drasko Vukovic, and that the witness's entire testimony was fabricated in a bid to "get rid of the various charges brought against him in foreign countries."

During the trial last year, Saric repeatedly accused police officials and controversial businessmen of fabricating the case against him.

Saric and nine other defendants are on trial, while 14 other members of the suspected crime group are still at large and are being tried in absentia.

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