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Protesters Back Serbian Policeman Who Found ‘State-Protected’ Drug Farm

Dozens of protesters led by opposition MPs rallied outside a Belgrade court to support one of the policemen who discovered an illegal marijuana farm that was allegedly protected by Serbian state security.

Mitic was among the police officers who discovered the huge cannabis farm that allegedly enjoyed the protection of Serbian state security.

Mitic was testifying in the case against Predrag Koluvija, the alleged owner of the farm, and others accused of illegal marijuana production.

He was asked by the defendants’ lawyers about his claims that his security and that of his police colleagues was jeopardised during the investigation. He responded that, at the suggestion of the court, they questioned the witnesses outside police premises for security reasons.

“Until then, I had no experience of the state endangering the safety of my work and my colleagues in any case,” he said, N1 TV reported.

In his testimony last month, Mitic said that from the beginning of the investigation, he and his colleagues were “under pressure from the state”.

Mitic said that alleged cannabis farm operator Koluvija showed him messages with Bratislav Gasic, now Serbia’s Interior Minister, who at that time was head of the State Security Agency, BIA, which showed that the two men were close.

“It is clear from the messages that Gasic knows what is happening at Jovanjica, and this can be seen also from the conversation with [Mirko] Skero [the head of Belgrade’s BIA centre],” Mitic said in his testimony on June 15.

Mitic also referred to a moment when another BIA agent, Aleksandar Tosic, who is charged with protecting the Jovanjica farm, arrived during the raid on the farm and asked Mitic to not go public with the discovery.

“Tosic wanted to convey messages to me, he was uncomfortable and his hands were shaking. And the message was that BIA is aware of what is happening at Jovanjica and is asking us not to go public with information about the operation,” Mitic said.

Mitic also accused Interior Minister Gasic of starting a campaign against him and his colleagues, who have been targeted for negative coverage by pro-government media over the past two years.

“From 2021, enormous pressure started against us, organised by Gasic. We learned that an agreement has been reached with the state services to liquidate us. Until then, I carried a gun only at work, and since then I have not been separated from the gun and two clips, even when I am in the park with my child,” Mitic said.

Two indictments have been raised related to the cannabis farm. The so-called ‘Jovanjica 1’ case, which is currently being tried, deals with illegal marijuana production, while ‘Jovanjica 2’ deals with alleged state security links to the farm.

Koluvija is the first accused in both indictments. Both accuse him of bring the organiser of a criminal group.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

According to the indictment, the cannabis farm allegedly enjoyed the support of at least five members of the police, military and security services. They provided Koluvija with a fake police badge and licence plates, valuable insider information and guards for the plantation.

However, the proceedings in Jovanjica 2, in which state officers are charged, have yet to begin, because the court panel has failed to hold a preliminary hearing for the past two years.

Source : Balkaninsight