Montenegrin Mafia Boss Killed in Turkey

An unknown attacker killed on Thursday the head of one of Montenegro’s two most violent criminal clans that have been fighting each other for years, the Serbian investigative outlet KRIK reported.

Jovan-Vukotic-foto-fbLeader of the Škaljari clan, Jovan Vukotić, killed in Turkey. (Photo: KRIK)The killer shot from a motorcycle at Jovan Vukotić, 42, who headed the Škaljari criminal clan. Vukotić was in his car with his wife and daughter in Istanbul, Turkey.

Vukotić escaped to Turkey after Montenegrin and Serbian authorities intensified their persecution of the two notorious gangs – Škaljari and Kavač – focusing on the gangs’ leaders.

He was most likely hiding from his opponents as well as from authorities, according to KRIK.

With Vukotić’s death, the Škaljari clan has been decapitated, Montenegrin media speculated. He supposedly took the ultimate command over the clan after his predecessor Igor Dedović was assassinated in Greece in January 2020 while dining with his wife and children in a restaurant in Athens.

Vukotić was also accused of inciting the murder of his rivals – the leaders of the Kavač clan, Radoje Zvicer and Slobodan Kašćelan. He was allegedly offering four million euro (US$4.016 million) for their heads.

He was rumored to have tried organize the murder of the leaders of the Kavač clan in Serbia – Veljko Belivuk, aka Velja Nevolja (Velja the Trouble), and Marko Miljković, according to KRIK.

The investigative outlet also mentioned several previous attempts on Vukotić. For years, he evaded his enemies’ attacks, unlike his father Veselin, who was shot and killed in front of the family house in Kotor in April 2019. Jovan’s brother Igor is on the run.

Both the the Kavač and Škaljari clans originate from Kotor at the Adriatic coast. Their members used to smuggle cocaine from South America into Europe together but split over a bad deal in 2014.

The ensuing conflict has ruptured the criminal underworld in Serbia and Montenegro, prompting other crime groups, and even some police and politicians, to pick sides.

The conflict has claimed the lives of dozens of people in countries of former Yugoslavia and beyond, as the gangs battle to control routes for smuggling cocaine from South America to feed Europe’s 5.7 billion-euro-a-year habit.