Zagorka Dolovac, the Republic Public Prosecutor, says that 124 suspected dealers of narcotics have been arrested in the operation Grom (eng. Thunder) while 21kg of drugs have been seized. Wherever there is evidence, criminal proceedings will be instituted, Dolovac said and underlined that the state is determined to defeat the drug dealers. Selaković: the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office up to the task, hopefully, the courts will be, too.

During the operation Grom, which has been carried out across the whole of the territory of Serbia, in just one day, 21 kg of narcotics have been seized, 124 individuals have been arrested, 70 out of these have been remanded in custody, Zagorka Dolovac, the Republic Public Prosecutor has stated today, underlining that the operation is still in progress.

"The police have searched 900 locations at the orders of the competent prosecutor’s offices and have filed criminal charges against 180 individuals. In the coming few days, about a hundred criminal charges are going to be filed, so the total number of the defendants is going to exceed 270”, Dolovac said.

Dolovac added that during the operation, 310 seizures have been carried out, 21 kg of narcotics and a large amount of weapons and ammunition in total.

During the searches the police have discovered in the course of a single day, between 6 AM and 8PM, a total of seven kilograms of heroin, five kilograms of cocaine, and one laboratory for the production of narcotics, Dolovac stated.

In addition, 27 pistols, 16 rifles, one machine-gun, four bombs, 525 g of plastic explosives and over 1000 pieces of ammunition of various calibers have been temporarily seized.

Dolovac has pointed out that the operation Grom has been carried out based on the decision of the Security Services Co-ordination Bureau in the whole of the territory of Serbia, both against individuals and criminal groups.

"The state has firmly decided to defeat the drug dealers. Wherever there is evidence, criminal proceedings will be instituted whereas the Prosecutor’s Office is going to request detention and the strictest sanctions to be imposed”, Dolovac stated.

Stressing that the operation is still ongoing, Dolovac said that it seemed to be running efficiently and that she expected good results from it.

Dolovac confirmed that out of the total number of the arrested individuals, 70 of them have been remanded in custody at the motions of the Prosecutor’s Office.

When asked if the information could have leaked potentially helping the "big players” to avoid arrests, the Republic Public Prosecutor dismissed such a possibility pointing out that the decision on the initiation of the operation had come from the Bureau, that it had been coordinated as well as possible and that there was very little room for information to leak.

However, she underlined that if it is found that someone has committed the criminal offence of disclosing an official secret, this person would be tried.

Source: Tanjug ( http://www.tanjug.rs/videodet.aspx?galID=112912)

Selakovic: Everyone up to the task

Nikola Selaković, the Minister of Justice and Government Administration and a member of the Security Services Co-ordination Bureau, said the Bureau had played a key role in the operation Grom and that the operation had been initiated by the First Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the Bureau, Aleksandar Vučić.

The Minister of Justice expressed his opinion that the police was up to the task during the operation, and that the Prosecutor’s Office performed at a high level as well, and said that hopefully the courts would follow suit.

"This operation was pre-emptive since the state has sent out a clear message that it is not a safe haven for criminals and dealers”, Selaković stated.

Selaković emphasised that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has never had such support from the executive authorities and the Government of Serbia for its work and reminded everyone that such an operation has not been seen in the last five years, since the operation "Morava”.

However, Selaković, was unable to compare the results of "Morava” and "Grom”, reminding the public that the proceedings resulting from the previous operation have been largely concluded by a final judgment whereas the initial results of the latest operation will not be known for another few days.

In answer to the question if this operation has uncovered some information regarding Darko Šarić, the fugitive drug lord, Selaković said: "We do not have any such information.”

The Minister also announced that during 2014 the prosecutor’s office would be reinforced both through "regular, professional reinforcement” and through the employment of economic and financial forensic experts (expert witnesses).

"We are going to introduce an identification reference number which is going to be assigned from the moment each action is entered into police records until the conclusion of potential criminal proceedings thus enabling better co-ordination of all state authorities regarding the information exchange”, Selaković said.

He clarified that the database is going to be available to the institutions such as the police, the prosecutor’s office, revenue police, the Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering.

Date: 11.12.2013.

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