Caribbean islands fingered in Croatian drug ring
FORT DE FRANCE, Martinique, Monday May 14, 2012 – Nine Croatians, one Serb and a Columbian have been arrested in police raids on Martinique and in the Dominican Republic as the net closed on an international drug ring last week.
The major bust took place on Martinique where the drugs were hidden in packages of mustard and coffee on a yacht rented by the Croats in Martinique.
In all, 11 people suspected of smuggling 174 kilos of cocaine from Columbia to Europe were arrested in a multi-state international police operation according to media reports.
It was the first major cocaine smuggling operation masterminded and carried out by Croats, Dinko Cvitan, the head of Croatian anti-drugs agency, was quoted as saying.
Croatian, Dutch, Italian and French police and the US anti-drug agency DEA were involved in the bust following investigation that opened in October 2011 at the behest of the Croatian police.
The cocaine, estimated to be worth eight million euros, was destined for three potential buyers in Europe, whose identity wasn't revealed, the reports said.
Cvitan said the suspects were known to possess property whose value far exceeded their legal earnings, and which will be confiscated if they are found guilty.
The Balkans has become a major route for cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe in recent years, a business mainly involving Serbian and Montenegrin citizens.