Bulgarian Drug Lord Sentenced to Eight Years
After numerous trial interruptions, Bulgarian drug lord Zlatomir “Baretata” Ivanov was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for organized crime activities. The Sofia City Court closed the high profile case with a guilty verdict for 11 of the 21 defendants, on charges of belonging to an organized crime group. Ivanov was found guilty of leading a group that engaged in drug trafficking and was suspected of plotting the 2007 murder of Rumen “Alf” Stefanov, a rival drug lord. Ivanov and his associates were acquitted on the murder charges.
After the Bulgarian authorities issued a nationwide search warrant for him in 2009, Ivanov turned himself in to police. His trial began in May 2010, and was marked with several interruptions. On October 22, 2010 one of the jurors, Petar Georgiev, was arrested for child pornography and the trial had to start anew a month later. The 107 witnesses and the 52 experts in the case were questioned again.
In March 2011, the trial was postponed due to health issues of one of the other defendants in the case, Borislav Sekulov. At that time, the office of Sekulov’s attorney Tsvetelina Nikolova was broken into and important documents were stolen, causing further delays. In addition, in October 2011, Ivanov was moved to house arrest due to health problems following surgery.
The prosecution asked for a 17 year sentence on February 7. The sentence can be appealed with the Sofia Court of Appeals.