HomeNewsBriefDrug Trafficking Ring Links Argentina to Serbia, Croatia
BRIEF

Drug Trafficking Ring Links Argentina to Serbia, Croatia

ARGENTINA / 2 AUG 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Argentine authorities have arrested the final suspect in an international drug trafficking network led by Serbians and Croatians that moved cocaine from Argentina to Eastern Europe, highlighting the rising importance of this route in the global cocaine trade.

At least 14 people were arrested over the course of an investigation labelled "Warrior of the Balkans." Most recently, Buenos Aires resident Carlos Gallego was arrested in the capital city's Palermo neighborhood. A judicial source told La Nacion that evidence indicated Gallego was in charge of the organization's logistics. 

In addition, two other people stand accused of working for the organization in Argentina, one Croatian was sentenced to 17 years in Uruguay, and 10 Serbians have been sentenced to an average of 10 years each in their home country as the result of an operation, which involved Argentine, Serbian and US officials.

The operation began in 2009 when Uruguayan police discovered over two tons of cocaine in a yacht near Montevideo on the La Plata River, which authorities linked to a Serbian man thought to head the organization. Gallego's arrest came after officials later found 480 kilos of cocaine in an underground hideout below a Buenos Aires apartment that he had rented.

InSight Crime Analysis

The network's connections were not limited to Serbia -- the Serbian man connected to the 2009 Uruguayan drug seizure led an organization that moved cocaine from Colombia on to Argentina and then Uruguay before shipping it to the Balkans, from where it was moved on for sale in Italy and Slovenia.

While this is not yet a common drug trafficking route, it is also not a standalone case. A report released by the European Police Office (EUROPOL) in early 2013 noted that there has been a growth in cocaine trafficking through the Balkans and the Black Sea in Eastern Europe. The percentage of cocaine seized in this region continues to be small compared to other routes, but increased from 0.1 percent in 2001 to 1.8 percent in 2011, and authorities said the trend should be closely monitored.

Argentina is a major drug transhipment point for cocaine headed to Europe, with Spain often used as a gateway. The case also highlights Uruguay's increased importance as a transhipment point.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 16 APR 2015

Authorities in Argentina have granted reduced prison sentences to 18 members of criminal group the Monos, raising the regional debate…

ARGENTINA / 19 MAY 2014

Authorities in Argentina have disbanded a group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel that trafficked liquid cocaine from Argentina to Mexico,…

ARGENTINA / 24 SEP 2018

The recent indictment of a former president as part of a larger anti-corruption investigation is the latest in a series…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…