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Cablegate: Police Make Major Seizures of Heroin, Cocaine

UNCLAS ZAGREB 01053

SIPDIS
R 301445Z NOV 07

FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8390
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNEXC/EXRBS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ZAGREB 001053

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/SCE HOH AND BALIAN
DEPT FOR ISN/ECC PVANSON, ACHURCH, JMCCLELLAN, NJOHANSSEN
VIENNA FOR DEA ISRAEL AND BYERLY
SARAJEVO FOR CARLIN AND TILLMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM SNAR PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: Police Make Major Seizures of Heroin, Cocaine

1. Last week Croatian Police announced the seizure of seven
kilograms of heroin in two border searches into Croatia. In one
action on 22 November, border police apprehended two Macedonians who
were crossing the Serbian-Croatian border at Bajakovo with 2
kilograms of heroin, Heptanon and other narcotic tablets. In the
second action one day later border police at the same border
crossing uncovered more than five kilograms of heroin hidden in a
vehicle driven by a Kosovar man. The seizures have a street value
of between $800,000 - $1 million and follow the well-known "Balkan
Route" of narcotics transiting from Afghanistan to Western Europe.
Along this route, police have seized about 72 kilograms of illegal
narcotics this year. These recent captures represent significant
quantities of heroin transiting through Croatia.

2. This week, police successfully completed a joint
Croatian-Greek-Bosnian operation, with cooperation from the DEA, in
which they stopped a total of 160 kilograms of cocaine transiting
through the Croatian port of Rijeka. The operation consisted of
controlled deliveries in the various countries. The first seizure
took place in the Croatian port of Rijeka in September with the
discovery of 81 kilograms of cocaine valued at about $8.2 million.
In October, Greek police made a second large seizure, and this week
police in Republika Srpska apprehended six suspects associated with
the operation. Also this week, Croatian police apprehended two
Croatians in connection with the smuggling ring and for illegal arms
possession. The Croatian investigation is ongoing.

3. Police have received training and ongoing operational support
from the DEA, training from ICITAP, and both border police and
customs officers have received EXBS-sponsored detection equipment
(endoscope) and training. In a recent meeting, Director of Police
Marijan Benko alluded to the operation and told us that cooperation
with regional colleagues, particularly the RS, has been excellent.
Despite such successes on regional cooperation, the EU and others
still see the need to improve interagency coordination in Croatia
and make progress on integrated border management. Police have
requested additional training from ICITAP on narcotics-related
issues in the coming months.

BRADTKE

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