GROUP AMERICA: A US-Serbian Drug Gang With Friends In The Shadows

Credit: OCCRP
Published: September 1, 2020

They’ve been accused of dismembering enemies with chainsaws, assassinating senior government officials and trading on ties with intelligence agencies. They’ve smuggled cocaine — tons and tons of it — across the world and now feed a sizable share of Europe’s drug habit.

Yet few outside of law enforcement have heard of Group America.

The decades-old criminal organization with roots in New York and the Balkans operates in dozens of countries, but its leaders have shown amazing ability to evade capture.

Group America’s 60-year-old leader lives quietly but openly in New York. More than one senior police source has attributed the organization's success to its ties with security services and intelligence agencies — perhaps even the CIA.

OCCRP and its member centers, including KRIK in Belgrade and investigace.cz in Prague, have tracked Group America for years, collecting thousands of pages of confidential police reports, interviewing law enforcement officials, and even visiting a top gang leader in a Peruvian prison.

What emerged is a picture of a well-disciplined, nimble, and creative network with a unique business model and a knack for staying ahead of the law. Keep reading to learn more.

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Group America’s International Reach

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