A preliminary hearing for the trial of Radoslav "Cviko" Cvijovic, 65, suspected of organizing a criminal drug group that was trafficking cocaine across Europe, was held today at the Special Division of the Higher Court in Belgrade.
His narcotics trade associates, as well as Cviko himself, were arrested in 2017 after being under observation for several months by the Serbian and the Czech police. Thus, one of Serbia's biggest drug smuggling chains was busted
HOW DID HIS GANG FALL?
In November 2017, a part of the gang was arrested in the Czech Republic, among them Cvijovic's son, Branislav. Their trial in that country has already been completed and they have been convicted with the same evidence that should be used before the Belgrade court.
In the Czech Republic, Radoslav's son, Branislav Cvijovic, who lives in Hungary, and Branislav Bikic, suspected of distributing cocaine on the Czech market, were arrested during a handover of 8.4 kilograms of cocaine. Their trial has already been completed and Branislav Cvijovic has been sentenced to nine years in prison and a fine of EUR 110,500, Capik to eight and a half years and EUR 4,000, and Bikic to six years and a fine of EUR 11,500.
At today's hearing, evidence was determined that will be presented during the trial and the defendants made brief declarations on the charges against them, after which the court scheduled the start of the trial at which they would be able to present their defense in detail.
Radoslav Cvijovic and his son-in-law Slavko Pavlov are charged with the criminal offense of Associating for the Purpose of Committing a Crime. They were arrested at the family home on the corner of March 27 Square and Czara Dusana Street, in November 2017. As the police announced after their arrest, Radoslav Cvijovic is suspected of having organized a criminal group to procure and sell cocaine over a long period of time in the territories of Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, as well as in other European countries.
Following the arrest, the the Interior Ministry (MUP) said that after several months of an operation by the Serbian prosecution with the help of the Security Information Agency (BIA) and colleagues from the Czech Republic, including SBPOK inspectors, it had been discovered that this organized criminal group was bringing in cocaine through ports in the Netherlands and then distributing it to Germany and Italy, until about two months before getting arrested.
Subsequently, the transport was diverted to the Czech Republic and Hungary, because cocaine is cheaper in Italy and costs around 27,000 euros per kilogram, while the price is 40,000 in the Czech Republic.
According to Serbian media, the "Serbian Corleone family" fell thanks to a mistake made in September 2017 when the family decided to divert the cocaine it was selling from Italy to the Czech Republic and Hungary, which turned out to be the wrong decision for them.
Photographs released by the Interior Ministry show that a group in the Czech Republic was arrested on an open road, while in Novi Sad, in addition to the arrests that took place in a villa near the Medical School, one of the members of this criminal group was arrested after his car was intercepted on Kneza Milosa Boulevard.
Radoslav Cvijovic was mentioned in the media in 2009 when he was arrested during Operation Morava, and police then described him as "one of the most powerful dealers in the Novi Sad area."
THE FRIENDSHIP WITH CUME AND KOSMAJAC
Cvijovic, suspected of being the head of an international drug gang, was a close associate of Ljubisa "Cume" Buha and a good friend of controversial businessman Dragoslav Kosmajac.
The police raided a number of properties owned by his family in Serbia, finding, in Novi Sad and in the Czech Republic, eight kilos of cocaine and 110,000 euros, and seizing several Porsche, Audi A8, and Mercedes cars - and other vehicles of lesser value.
Cviko maintained close friendships with Branislav "Branko" Micunovic and Rajko "Rajan" Lucic, with whom he co-owned some real estate in Novi Sad. It was with Lucic and the now late Ratko "Bata Kankan" Buturovic - that he came to Novi Sad a quarter century ago. At one time, their meeting place was the famous café and casino on Novi Sad's Oslobodjenja Boulevard, where they would meet almost every day.
Unlike his friends, Cvijovic never liked to be in the spotlight and appear in media.
DRUGS WERE TRAFFICKED AROUND EUROPE
There are grounds for suspicion that this organized criminal group had been procuring and distributing cocaine in the territories of Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic for a long period of time and selling it in other European countries.
Cviko's son-in-law and son were charged with overseeing the transport of the drugs. Usually, cocaine was transported in two vehicles, with the first car being a reconnaissance vehicle while the second carried the drugs.