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At today's press conference, representatives of the General Police Directorate and the Novo mesto Police Directorate provided more information about a successfully concluded criminal investigation of offences in the area of organised crime, in which the police arrested 12 suspects on 30 November and 1 December 2009.


Roman Kržan, head of the Criminal Investigation Police Section at the Novo mesto Police Directorate, Slavko Koroš, head of the Organised Crime Division at the Criminal Police Directorate within the General Police Directorate, and Drago Menegalja, police public relations officer for crime, presented the findings.

They explained that a criminal investigation conducted in 2008 found a suspected criminal group active in the area of Dolenjska and Bela krajina carrying out alleged criminal acts of illicit production of and trafficking in drugs, illicit substances in sports and precursor substances for manufacturing illicit drugs, criminal offences of the prohibited crossing of the state border or territory and criminal offences of counterfeiting currency. In the past, police officers had filed criminal complaints against individual members of the criminal group for various offences. Some members of the group received prison sentences.

In allegedly perpetrating criminal offences, the suspects are described as having worked together with a number of citizens of Croatia and Serbia. For that reason, criminal investigators worked with Croatian and Serbian police as part of international police co-operation.

On 30 November and 1 December 2009, criminal investigators arrested a number of members of the suspected criminal group, namely a 34-year-old man from Metlika, a 51-year-old man residing temporarily in Metlika, a 29-year-old man from Metlika, a 23- and a 25-year-old man from Škocjan, a 29-year-old man from Novo mesto, a 31-year-old man from Novo mesto, a 36-year-old man from Črnomelj, an 18-year-old man from Črnomelj and a 22-, a 25- and a 24-year-old man from Ljubljana. Criminal investigators conducted several house searches in the area of Dolenjska and Bela krajina and seized numerous items allegedly originating from criminal offences or used in committing criminal offences.

While investigation measures were conducted, at least 4.8 kg of cannabis was allegedly sold by the members of the group. Police officers seized 559 g of cannabis and filed criminal complaints against five suspects. They also seized 1.05 kg of cocaine. The suspects are believed to have illegally transported at least 15 persons across the border. The police arrested 9 citizens of Serbia and Montenegro during the illicit border crossing. The suspects are accused of having transported foreign nationals from Croatia through Bela krajina, Novo mesto, Žužemberk and Ljubljana to Italy. For transportation of each person, they allegedly received a payment of more than 1,000 euros. The criminal officers also noted two criminal offences of forgery of money.

Slavko Koroš thanked the security authorities from Croatia and Serbia for the intensive cross-border co-operation. "We are aware that international organised crime knows no borders and, without doubt, these measures have significantly contributed towards the fight against such organised crime in this region," he said.