Serb-Montenegrin Drug Lord Surrenders After Years in Hiding

Darko Saric, a Montenegro-born Serb national wanted for smuggling tons of cocaine to western Europe and laundering the proceeds by investing in Balkan assets, surrendered to Serb police today, government said.

Saric, 43, sought since 2009 for overseeing the illegal trade of 5.6 tons of cocaine and laundering at least 22 million euros ($30.6 million) in Serbia and other former Yugoslav republics, turned himself in after a Serb security agency located him in Latin America, Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic told reporters in Belgrade today.

Saric may appear in court later this month, where dozens of his associates are already on trial, said Jasmina Colak, a spokeswoman for Serbia’s prosecutor for organized crime, by phone. The drug trafficking was traced to Uruguay, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Serbia and Montenegro, according to the charges.

Serbia began prosecuting Saric when a shipment of more than 2 tons of cocaine was seized in Uruguay in 2009, with support of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

An ensuing crackdown named Balkan Warrior uncovered Saric’s vast investments in real estate and equity in Serbia, which were seized as the suspect fled the country before formal charges. He faces at least 10 years in jail, Belgrade-based Higher Court said in e-mail

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