DEA will cooperate with Croatian authorities in the fight against drug trafficking.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the US police and intelligence agency for combating drug trafficking, has opened an office in Zagreb. The news was announced on her Twitter profile by US Ambassador to Croatia Julieta Valls Noyes, reports Večernji List on November 16, 2016.
“I am proud and excited to open a regional DEA office”, wrote the Ambassador after cutting the red ribbon in the company of the agency’s representatives and opening the office which is located within the US Embassy in Zagreb. Although there were no media statements, reports are that the powerful agency, which has 12,000 employees in 70 countries around the world and which operates within the US Department of Justice, came to Croatia on its own initiative.
Special agents trained to fight drug trafficking, whom Croats could until now only see in movies and TV shows, will act in cooperation with the Croatian police and the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime. They will not be able to carry personal weapons outside of the Embassy. Also, they will not be making arrests on the streets of Croatian towns, and all such activities will be done by Croatian police officers, while the agency’s representatives will be responsible for collecting information.
Asked whether the arrival of US agents indicated the strengthening of the so-called Balkan drug smuggling route, Dubravko Klarić, advisor at the Government Office for Combating Drugs, who has worked with DEA for many years, was sceptical. “The opening of the office in Zagreb will help cover the problems in the region better, but I do not think that the reason is an increased volume of work. It is simply easier to conduct operations from a base in Zagreb than from a neighbouring office like Vienna. The current trends of drug abuse and trafficking offenses dictate a certain pace of activities. In any case, I welcome the opening of the DEA office in Zagreb, it is very important for Croatia”, said Klarić, adding that the presence of the American agency in Zagreb would certainly improve already good cooperation with the Croatian police.
“Their methods are constantly changing due to the trends in crime, and they are still the dominant organization in the world in terms of fighting drug trafficking crimes, which have in recent times been increasingly connected with global terrorism. These are all trends which DEA agents are very well informed about”, concluded Klarić.