Special Court convicts Darko Saric to 20 years in prison
Darko Saric was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison for trafficking 5.7 tons of cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe.Source: B92, Blic, Tanjug
All other members of his group on trial have also been found guilty.
Neither Saric, who refused to show up, nor his lawyers were present in the courtroom today.
Judge Sinisa Petrovic said that Saric, Goran Sokolovic and Zeljko Vujanovic, as well as late Ivan Dudic aka Fric, were found to be organizers of the criminal group. Sokovic was sentenced to 20, and Vujanovic to 18 years in prison.
Rodoljub Radulovic, aka Misa Banana, who is a fugitive, was also found guilty and sentenced to 11 years and six months.
The defendants have the right to appeal against these first-instance ruling.
The Organized Crime Prosecution said in its closing statement that Saric and others should be sentenced from 30 to 40 years in jail, and at the same time asked the court to jail collaborating witnesses for six to ten months.
Saric rejected the indictments against him, saying there was no proof he organized the cocaine smuggling, and accusing "former authorities" of fabricating the case against him.
Six indictments against a total of 36 defendants were merged during this legal process that started in 2009 when the first suspects were arrested, and around 2 tons of cocaine seized in Uruguay. The case was expanded on several occasion since. More than 14 of those accused are still at large.
The unified trial started in April 2013 in Belgrade, where Saric and his group stood accused of smuggling a total of more than 5.7 tons of cocaine from Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina to Western Europe, during 2008 and 2009.