Slovenia: Balkan Warrior Trial Convicts Four, Acquits Leader
A Ljubljana court has convicted four Slovenians for drug trafficking and acquitted 13 others, including Dragan Tosic, the alleged ringleader of what police had called a Balkan crime ring, local media reports.
The acquittals came two weeks after the court accepted a request from defense attorneys to exclude recordings they said were obtained illegally by Serbian and Slovenian police. According to the judge, the remaining evidence, related to alleged drug trafficking in Italy and Uruguay, was not sufficient for a sentence for Tosic and the others.
The remaining defendants, who were detained in Italy, have been sentenced to between four and 10 years in prison on charges of drug production and trafficking. Police and media consider all four of the convicted to be low level “foot soldiers.”
Slovenian police arrested all 17 in an operation launched in 2010. The men were accused of belonging to a gang led by Serbian national Darko Saric, an alleged drug kingpin who has been charged with trying to smuggle 2.8 tons of cocaine from South America to Europe but remains at large.
Dragan Tosic is thought to be the head of Saric's Slovenian crime branch and is the owner of two well-known Ljubljana coffee shops.
The trial, which concluded Tuesday after 18 months, had been dubbed the "Balkan Warrior" case.