After trials that stretched over a decade, the Belgrade High Court sentenced on Friday 13 Serbian members of a criminal group led by drug lord Darko Šarić, who was sent behind bars for nine years for laundering millions of dirty drug money.
Other members of Šarić’s group that operated from 2008 to 2010 were sentenced to between two and seven years in jail, while charges were dropped for four now former suspects.
Šarić refused to attend the sentencing.
The group was involved in the production and trade of drugs and invested the proceeds into “legal money streams to hide its illegal origin,” the court said.
“They would invest dirty money into buying or renting firms, farmland or other real estate on Serbian territory,” the court said. It decided to confiscate the properties obtained through criminal activities, including companies, storages and apartments in several Serbian cities and villages.
In December 2018 Šarić was sentenced to 15 years in prison for organizing a criminal group that smuggled tons of cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe. This verdict is still not confirmed by Belgrade’s Court of Appeal.
The Serbian drug lord and his group are believed to have laundered at least 20 million euro they made through cocaine smuggling, according to Serbian prosecution. Šarić and his accomplices can appeal the ruling within the next 15 days.