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At today's press conference held by the General Police Directorate, representatives of the criminal police directorates of Slovenia, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska gave details of the recently successfully concluded investigation of an international organised crime ring responsible for smuggling arms and explosives from the western Balkans via Slovenia into western Europe.

NK IMG 8981Taking part in the press conference were Robert Črepinko, assistant director of the Criminal Police Directorate at the General Police Directorate, Janko Goršek, head of the Criminal Police Section at the Celje Police Directorate, Gojko Vasić, chief of the Criminal Police of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ivo Šako, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


As explained in the press conference, after an operation lasting several months, the law enforcement bodies of Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have successfully broken up a smuggling ring responsible for smuggling large quantities of arms and explosives from Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union to supply criminal organisations in the EU.

The operation was carried out using both traditional and undercover methods. It began at the start of the year in Slovenia and then continued in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the cooperation of the justice and law enforcement bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

NK IMG 8973Gojko Vasić, head of the Criminal Police of Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Ivo Šako, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (in the background)


Thanks to extremely cooperation between justice and law enforcement bodies, evidence was assembled against the members of a criminal gang which had been smuggling arms and explosives for several years.

As with the majority of recent seizures of weapons, the investigation of criminal offences as part of this operation showed that Slovenia is above all a transit country in the context of the international trafficking of arms from the countries of the former Yugoslavia into western Europe.

With regard to arms smuggling, Slovenia is mainly significant because of its geostrategic position on the so-called southern Balkans route leading to western Europe or clients based there, and thus acts as a link between western and south-eastern Europe.

In view of concrete cases, trends and operational findings over the last three years, we can conclude that:

  • the former republics of Yugoslavia are one of the primary sources of arms and explosives and improvised explosive devices,
  • both explosives and improvised explosive devices are smuggled,
  • the majority of cases of smuggling are linked to organised crime.

NK CrepinkoRobert Črepinko, assistant director of the Criminal Police Directorate at the General Police Directorate


As part of the joint operation which began in the second half of last year, we have seized the following:

  • 62 kg of pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN),
  • 10 M70 automatic rifles,
  • 18 M80 "Zolja" rocket launchers
  • 1 Glock pistol, 1 Å korpijon machine pistol, 1 automatic small-calibre rifle,
  • 1 shotgun,
  • 40 detonators,
  • various ammunition for automatic rifles and anti-aircraft machine gun,
  • various weapons parts.

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Crime reports were filed against 8 individuals suspected of the criminal offence of illegal manufacture of and traffic in arms or explosives. One suspect has been detained in Slovenia and four in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The explosives smuggled represent a considerable danger to people and property, since they were manufactured for the Yugoslav army and were designed to destroy structures of various kinds, both on land and at sea. PETN is 1.7 times more powerful than the well-known and commonly used military explosive TNT (trinitrotoluene). Since it is more sensitive to outside influences, for safety reasons it can only be stored in stores designed for the purpose. The price of a kilogram of military explosive on the black market in Slovenia is around 700 euros. In other EU countries, for example France, it can be several times higher.NK DSC00141

In the first eight months of this year police in Slovenia have dealt with 126 (89) criminal offences of illegal manufacture of and traffic in arms and explosives and 588 (551) administrative offences connected with weapons.

We must highlight the good cooperation during the course of the operation with a number of EU countries and justice and law enforcement bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

NK IMG 9022Janko Goršek, head of the Criminal Police Section at the Celje Police Directorate


On 15 September 2008, investigators from the Celje Police Directorate, in conjunction with the General Police Directorate, the Criminal Police of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Criminal Police of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, concluded a large-scale investigation of criminal offences in connection with the illegal manufacture of and traffic in arms or explosives as defined by Article 310/II and I of the Penal Code of the Republic of Slovenia.

In the course of the investigation, crime reports were filed against eight individuals suspected of six criminal offences. These were: two nationals of Slovenia, five nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one with temporary residence in France, and one national of Croatia with temporary residence in France; they are aged between 24 and 60.

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On conclusion of the investigation the court ordered 8 house searches, one in the area of the Celje Police Directorate and seven in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Detention was ordered for six of the suspects under the Criminal Procedure Act. Two suspects (a Croatian national and a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina, both with temporary residence in France) are still being sought by investigators and uniformed police and a search warrant has been issued for them.

The pre-trial procedure was directed by the District Public Prosecutor's Office in Celje and the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

NK IMGP1899The Criminal Police Section of the Celje Police Directorate began the investigation in connection with the above criminal offences in August 2007. Traditional police methods were used, as well as undercover methods, which provided evidence of the operation of a criminal gang engaged in the criminal activity of the illegal manufacture of and traffic in arms or explosives.

It was found that a 60-year-old male from the Celje area and a 56-year-old Croatian national with temporary residence in France had first tried to transport a large quantity of arms and explosives to France. The Slovenian national was responsible for arranging transport and smuggling the arms and explosives from Bosnia and Herzegovina to France, while the Croatian national with temporary residence in France was responsible for the supply and sale of the arms and explosives to customers in France. The suspect from Celje made contact with accomplices from Bosnia and Herzegovina who were in possession of arms and explosives and, in April 2008, they smuggled 7.8 of kg of PETN military explosive, which was seized by police during the investigation.

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Later the suspect from Celje along with his accomplices from Bosnia and Herzegovina illegally acquired and organised the sale of ten (10) "Zolja" rocket launchers and 11.5 kg of PETN, which were also seized by police.

The international criminal gang which smuggled large quantities of arms and explosives across Slovenia into other EU countries for the purpose of considerable financial gain was extremely well organised and involved a closed group of people with specific tasks and responsibilities. All members of the gang acted with considerable caution.

NK IMGP1893The final arrest of the suspects was carried out by investigators and uniformed police in a coordinated simultaneous operation in Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the house searches that followed, around 43 kg of explosives (PETN), 8 rocket launchers, 10 automatic rifles, several automatic pistols, a large quantity of detonators, various ammunition, equipment for filling cartridges and various weapons parts were found at the houses of the suspects from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Investigators also found the mobile telephones used by the suspects in the course of their criminal activities.

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Following the investigation, one suspect appeared before Celje District Court and was remanded in custody by the investigating magistrate. The four suspects who appeared before the investigating magistrate in Bosnia and Herzegovina were likewise remanded in custody.

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