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Montenegro Charges Serbian Citizens with Tunnelling into Court Storage

Montenegrin Interior Minister Filip Adzic said on Friday that police will made an international request for the arrest of four Serbian citizens and two unknown persons, suspected members of a criminal group that dug a tunnel into the Higher Court’s storage area in Podgorica.

Adzic named the Serbian citizens as Veljko Markovic, Milan Markovic, Dejan Jovanovic and Vladimir Eric, and said they had at least five more associates.

“Criminal charges have been filed against four identified persons and two unknown persons for the offence of criminal association. There is a certain connection between this criminal organisation and one person from the High Courter and members of one of most organised criminal organisations in our country,” Adzic told a press conference.

“The police have clues that lead us to the perpetrators. We also expect help from neighbouring countries,” he added.

On September 12 the head of the Higher Court, Boris Savic, reported that unknown persons dug a tunnel into the court’s storage rooms where material evidence seized by the police during investigations is kept – reportedly including large amounts of drugs, weapons and documents.

Under Montenegrin law, seized evidence is kept by the court until verdicts become final and then should be destroyed.

Authorities said that the digging of the tunnel took more than 45 days, starting from a nearby basement apartment.

The apartment had been rented since July, and the tunnel was dug while the court administration was on its summer break.

On September 15, authorities confirmed that 19 firearms were stolen from the Higher Court storage.

State basic prosecutor Dusko Milanovic said there is still not enough evidence for charges to be raised, however.

“We do not yet have enough evidence against the perpetrators, just operational police data that should be investigated. So far no Higher Court staff are suspected, but one Montenegrin citizen from the town of Kotor is suspected of being associated with someone from the Higher Court,” Milanovic said at the press conference.

Montenegrin police have arrested dozens of alleged drug gang members and leaders since 2021 in large-scale campaign against organised crime based on transcripts from the Sky ECC encrypted communications app.

The alleged head of the Kavac drug gang, Slobodan Kascelan, was arrested in April 2021 for organising a criminal group and ordering the murders of members of the rival Skaljari drug gang.

The Kavac drug gang has been involved in a seven-year war with the Skaljari gang, also from Kotor. At least 50 people have been killed in Montenegro, Serbia, Austria and Greece during the conflict. Both gangs take their names from neighbourhoods of Kotor, a medieval town of some 20,000 inhabitants in Montenegro’s Boka Bay.

Source : BalkanInsight