Warrant Requested for Alleged Drug Kingpin

Published: 17 September 2012


Alleged organized crime boss and long-time police target Naser Kelmendi is now the subject of an international arrest warrant from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), OCCRP has learned.

Kelmendi is the Kosovo-born businessman and alleged drug kingpin around whom last week’s SIPA operation, codenamed “Doll” was centered. Kelmendi’s hotel, the Casa Grande in Ilidja, a suburb of Sarajevo, was raided, but Kelmendi himself was not arrested; he and several other targets were out of the country at the time of the sweep.

Monday afternoon, the BiH Prosecutor’s office requested international warrants in connection with Operation “Doll” for multiple suspects who are outside of the country, said spokesperson Boris Grubešić. That office would not specify the names of the suspects, but OCCRP has received confirmation from a high-ranking law enforcement and security official in Bosnia and Herzegovina that Kelmendi’s name was on the list.

If the Prosecutor’s request for warrants is granted by the court of BiH, those warrants will transfer to the jurisdiction of Interpol.

Although Kelmendi evaded Wednesday's sweep, twenty-five men were arrested. On Friday, the court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed that 18 of the 25 will be held in custody for one month on suspicions of organized crime. This is a precautionary measure before official sentencing, the Prosecutor's Office said, due to circumstances which suggest the arrested persons might flee the country, tamper with evidence, or repeat the offense if released.

If these suspects are convicted, their prison sentence will be at least 10 years.

Kelmendi also frequently operates from Montenegro where he also owns a hotel.