INT: Maritime Trafficking: How Balkan Gangsters Became Europe’s Top Cocaine Suppliers

In 2018, convicted cocaine trafficker Slobodan Kostovski fled a Brazilian prison and made his way back to Europe with a fake passport.

The Serbian senior quickly fell into old habits, police allege. Last August, Kostovski was arrested in Belgrade, accused of shipping 2.7 metric tonnes of cocaine from Brazil aboard a 22-meter vessel apprehended near Spain’s Canary Islands.

Nicknamed “the General” by his associates, he had been trafficking “large amounts” of powder to “Europe for a long period of time,” Serbian police wrote in a 2022 intelligence report obtained exclusively by Reuters. Kostovski, now 70, had lived in Brazil for years. It’s a perch that allowed him to forge strong ties with cocaine producers in neighboring Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, and arrange ocean transport of the drugs to Europe, according to the Serbian document.

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Tags: Drug Trafficking DTO Opioid Crisis

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