The police have released a video of the arrest.
At a special press conference held at the Interior Ministry’s headquarters in Zagreb, the police have released a video of the arrest of members of the “Croatian Escobar” Stjepan Prnjat’s crime organisation, reports Index.hr on March 10, 2018.
Last week, the Croatian police broke a smuggling chain and seized 100 kilograms of cocaine which suspected members of the criminal organisation smuggled from South America to the European Union through Croatia.
In addition to providing further details of the operation, the police also released a spectacular video of the arrest of members of the criminal group.
Prnjat himself was also arrested. He was first mentioned in the media in 2007, when investigators announced that they had broken up a chain of heroin and cocaine smugglers across Europe, including in Croatia.
At the press conference, the police disclosed that it was a highly organised crime group, which is also demonstrated by the way the cocaine seized at the Brajdice container terminal in Rijeka was packed. The cocaine was hidden among metal waste and packed in hermetically sealed boxes, coated with lead and glass wool so that it would not be detected or destroyed during transport.
In early 2017, customs officials discovered a number of containers suspected of being used for drug smuggling during the regular profiling of containers at the port of Rijeka. Due to the widespread criminal activity of the groups in Europe and strong illegal links between members of the Croatian criminal cell which is part of the so-called “Balkans Cartel” and the “Colombian Cartel”, which operates in several countries of Latin America, Croatian authorities used the mechanism of international legal aid and international police co-operation to expand the criminal investigation to several countries.
In collaboration with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Colombian National Police, a container was detected in Panama. The container included metal scrap material which was used as a cover for a significant amount of cocaine which was supposed to be smuggled into Europe.
The commercial container ship sailed into the port of Rijeka on 3 March, and the police and customs officers searched the container during the next two days. They found 100 kilograms of cocaine packed in 100 rectangular packages sealed with rubber and self-adhesive tape in specially prepared steel hollows. The cocaine was hermetically sealed and coated with lead and glass wool.
In total, 11 members of the criminal organisation have been arrested, with four Croatian citizens being detained in September and December last year, and seven people arrested on 7 March, after the cocaine was found in Rijeka. Among them are five Croatian citizens, one Spanish/Colombian citizen and one Dutch citizen.
On 7 and 8 March, seven homes, two business premises and five vehicles were searched, with computers, mobile phones and money being found.
Translated from Index.hr.