Saturday, March 03, 2007

“Serbia center point on Balkan drugs route”

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department Narcotics Control Report says Serbia is transit point for drugs smuggling in the region.

Organized crime groups use Serbia as a central transit point for the transfer of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other synthetic drugs, the report, issued March 1, says, adding that a small portion of smuggled narcotics remains in Serbia for domestic consumption.

“Serbia is developing and enacting new laws and law enforcement initiatives, including the National Strategy for the Fight Against Drugs, but a weak legal infrastructure and endemic corruption will make the fight against narcotics and drug smuggling a long process,” the document says.

The report stresses the ability of organized crime groups to exploit the porous borders and weak infrastructure, threatening political stability and economic development of the country.

The document quotes the ministry of the interior as noting that Sandžak, with its capital of Novi Pazar, remains “most problematic because of its geographical position near the Montenegrin and Kosovo border on the smuggling route and the storage of large quantities of drugs in the region.”

“Corruption is endemic in Serbia and is prevalent throughout the legal infrastructure of the country. The Serbian government does attempt to prosecute instances of corruption, but because it is so accepted by society, is often hard to identify,” the State Department report says, adding however that “there are no reports that senior government officials engage in, encourage, or facilitate the production and distribution of narcotic and there is also no evidence that Serbia, as a matter of government policy, encourages or facilitates production or distribution of narcotic or actively launder proceeds from illegal drug transactions.”

Source: B92. Fair use.

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