Terrorism and Organized Crime in South-eastern Europe: The case of Bosnia-Herzegovina – Sandzak, Kos
By lpcyu | Posted March 3, 2011 | BLOOMINGDALE, New Jersey 3
Belgrade University, Faculty of Security Studies#
– Terrorism and Organized Crime in South-eastern Europe: The case of Bosnia-Herzegovina – Sandzak, Kosovo and Metohija
The territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina has become a haven for a widespread network of organized crime. Wars, economic crises, social, political and other upheavals have all created fertile soil for this malaise. The primary objective of organized crime is acquisition of material wealth; this is accomplished through illicit activities with a high rate of return on investment: drug-smuggling, gunrunning, prostitution, trade in human organs and persons, etc. Corruption appears alongside organized crime. In Bosnia-Herzegovina (hereafter: BH) , corruption is endemic#, ranging from abuse of police power and suspicious privatization deals to involvement in smuggling of high-tariff goods, copyright piracy, gunrunning and human trafficking. Problems multiply and there are no solutions in sigh. Few believe the authorities’ declarations of readiness to confront local and regional crime syndicates#.
One of the biggest problems is certainly the drug trade, which directly affects EU countries. Seventy percent of all heroins arriving to the EU come down three Balkans routes. BH is part of one of the routes, but is increasingly becoming a storage zone for illicit narcotics and an emerging market, as the number of users grows. Local crime syndicates are connected with Albanian, Kosovo, Serb, Turkish and Bulgarian mafias. There are two heroin routes into BH: One starts in Afghanistan, through Turkey, Greece, Albania and Serbia, and then through BH westwards. The second starts in Albania, and then goes across Montenegro into southern BH and Croatia, to proceed into Western Europe#.
Heroin and other substances are abundant in BH – in restaurants, cafees, schools, universities – and general dissatisfaction with quality of life has enabled the crime syndicates to recruit users and pushers among the youth.
This recent situation is being exploited by various Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organizations in BH. During the civil war, some of the Muslim military commanders were petty criminals such as Ramiz Delalic – CELO# (deputy commander, 9th Motorised Brig.), Ismet Bajramovic – CELO (Military police commander#), Musan Topalovic – CACO# and Jusuf -Juka Prazina#. Also, members of the mentioned group are: Sead Becirevic-Sejo, Zulfikar Alic-Zuka (Military commander of the terrorist unit call Black Swans) and Bojadzic Nihat, former officer of the R BiH Army. Political support to this group secure on of the prominent Muslim politician in Sarajevo Mr.Ejup Ganic and Mr.Haris Silajdzic. Haris Silajdzic are the actual member of the B-H Presidency. His sister Salidza Silajdzic is married in Iran, presumably to a high rank officer of the VEVAK, and his brother Husref Silajdzic is thought to be a secret agent of the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI). New information speak about the fact that Haris Silajdzic is trying to restart the work of “Patriot League”.# The center of “Patriot League” is to be in Sarajevo with General Vahid Karavelic as its head.
They used patriotism as a cover for their criminal activities during the war. Afterwards, however, a portion of the Muslim population in BH replaced nationalism with a new ideology of Islamic fundamentalism. Islamic fundamentalists with a criminal background have substantial advantages in BH:
1. fast and easy access to weapons and explosives;
2. in-depth knowledge of smuggling routes;
3. connections with corrupt officials and politicians;
4. influence in local media and NGOs;
5. connections with a large diaspora in the US and western Europe
Terrorist networks have seized upon these advantages of local criminals-turned-Islamic fundamentalists, creating a new model of terrorist funding.
While terrorists and criminal syndicates have different motivations, they both seek financial gain – only terrorists see it as a source of funding their ideological pursuits. As a result, terrorist networks in cooperation with organized crime syndicates generate significant sums of money. Both parties profit from cooperation. Terrorists provide drug supplies, weapons and contacts to drug-makers and smugglers worldwide. They also provide safe havens for organized crime syndicates, because they often control large territories where there is no rule of law. On the other hand, the terrorists can use smuggling routes and illicit trade goods. Both groups gather and exchange intelligence on corrupt state officials in all branches of government.
Islamic fundamentalists, including Al-Qaeda members, realize profits from drug trade in two ways. One is by taking a percentage from the local criminal syndicates, and the other is taking a portion of illicit substances transported towards Western Europe. Profits from those drug sales are used by the terrorists to purchase arms and offer bribes, but increasingly often as well for hiring professional PR and lobbying firms to come up with political justifications of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists.
Recent discoveries in BH indicate that the trend of terrorist organizations funding themselves from drug sales is on the rise, due to a series of factors:
1. Financial scrutiny and closing of so-called “humanitarian” organizations that were terror fronts;
2. Greater pressure on state sponsors of terrorism, resulting in their inability to funnel money to terrorists openly;
3. Increase in supply of heroin coming from Afghanistan;
4. Connections between Islamic fundamentalists and organized crime syndicates
Of special consideration is the fact that Islamic terrorists have a widespread network of members and supporters in BH, which is used for trafficking in people, weapons and increasingly drugs. Due to this, one can purchase a kilo of heroin in BH through the “mujahedin connection” for anywhere between 11.000 and 13.000 EUR. The street value would be three or four times more, because pure heroin is laced with other substances.
The BH capital has become the base of a narco-cartel. After the murder of Lullzim Krasniqi# in Croatia, one of the major drug-dealers on the Balkans route, the investigation which took place in several countries uncovered the existence of a widespread network composed of criminals and former soldiers from the BH Army. Almost all of them are Kosovo Albanians or Sanjak Muslims. Krasniqi’s murder was linked to a large shipment of drugs via Kosovo, Sanjak, BH, Croatia and into Austria, where a portion was supposed to be retained for local distribution and the rest shipped to Germany, Switzerland and the rest of the EU. Distribution was to be handled by numerous members of the Krasniqi family living in Graz and the surrounding areas#.
Krasniqi’s main partners in Kosovo are Florim Maloku, Arben Viti, Dauti Kurtalli, Besim Ismaili, Ismet Osmani and EKREM (Kurtesh) LLUKA, a.k.a “Vuka” linked to radical Islamic circles in Syria#. Ekrem Luka is the honour of the company “Banana” and close friend with Bexhet Pacoli. Bexhet Pacoli is very close friend of Raumus Haradinaj#.
Krasniqi was well-connected with two leading criminal figures in BH - Ramiz Delalić – Ćelo, leader of the Sanjak underground, and Naser Kellmendi, one of the most influential Albanians in Sarajevo. One of Kellmendi’s closest associates, considered to be his connection to the criminal and terrorist circles in Kosovo, is “Jackie” Rugovcu of Peć, who is also well-connected with Ekrem Lluka. Rugovcu had two separate channels for transporting weapons, drugs and prostitutes. Suad Musić was in charge of the Montenegro channel, while the Sanjak route was managed by Safet Kalić – Sajo, close to major criminal syndicates in Kosovo and inner Serbia#. Suad Music and Safet kalica are cousins.
Other notable individual in the organized crime network that finances Islamic terrorism in the Balkans are Halil Emrovic from Sanjak. Halil Emrovic are in charge of the heroin route from Turkey through Sanjak, BH and onwards to the West. He controlling the heroin network supplies in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Varazdin in Croatia.
Emrović is the owner of “Edihal” textile plant in Novi Pazar, which is the cover for his heroin smuggling from Turkey through Kosovo and Croatia. Trucks transporting denim from Turkey are used for smuggling large quantities of heroin. One of these shipments was intercepted in Hungary recently, when 113 kilos of heroin was found in a truck driven by Emrović’s cousin Zamo (a.k.a. “Zamorano”) and Muzafer Bihorac. The heroin was received from brothers Semir and Munir, who own a textile factory in Istanbul, and was destined for a contact in Zagreb named Franjo. After the arrest of Nirso Hadžipećanina in Croatia and the seizure of 164 additional kilos of heroin that had been transported by bus from Sarajevo, Emrović got into trouble with the Sarajevo underground, which suspected him of being involved in the seizures#.His contact in Istanbul is Hajro Aljković, and in Croatia Mensur Bibić “Meljo”, both from Novi Pazar. He has drug-runners in Sarajevo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Heroin is transported from Turkey into Western Europe along three routes: Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary, Kosovo-Montenegro-Italy, and Bulgaria-Serbia-Croatia. Known criminal associates: Plojović Džemail “Žuti”, Smajović Faruk, Emrović Halil, Vuković Gordana (ex-Customs official) of Novi Pazar, as well as Učkan Sedat, Turkish citizen, and Sabahko, owner of “Igbal” hotel in Istanbul#. Ms.Vukovic Gordana today working in Customs of Serbia, office in Kraljevo. She is driving brand new BMW and she is having contact only with Muslims fellows from Sandzak. Her brother was arrested in the recent Police raid under the name of “Customs Mafia”. Also following individuals are considered as dangerous operating in Novi Pazar – Sandzak region: Ljajic Mahmut Maso and Ibrovic Senad suspects for the trafficking of “white slaves” and Birdjozlic Jusuf, heroin.
The core of Naser Kellmendi’s crime syndicate is composed of the following: Elvis Kellmendi (age 27) born in Prizren, living in Ilidža (Sarajevo), Besnik Kellmendi (age 25) born in Peć, living in Zenica, Liridon Kellmendi (age 22) born in Peć, living in Novo Sarajevo, Almir Kukan, (age 25) of Sarajevo, and Asllan Peci (age 41) born in Zvečan, living in Ilidža (also a wartime commander in the Muslim-dominated ARBiH#).
One of the chief Islamic fundamentalist leaders connected to organized crime is Bashkim Gazidede#. Through his Islamist and criminal associations, he managed to organize a transfer of large quantities of heroin, whose sales provided funding for Islamic fundamentalist activities in the Balkans. Gazidede specifically used the funds to support black operations of SHIK (Albanian intelligence) in Kosovo. SHIK’s leading agent and former member of the KLA Xhavit Haliti was arrested November 17, 2005. by the Syrian state security in Damascus. Haliti was charged with being a member of Al-Qaeda, with a mission to establish cells and recruit members of the “white Al-Qaeda” in the Balkans and support the organization’s operations in Iraq.# Haliti’s closes associates are Azem Syla and Rifa Haxhijaj, suspected of a series of war crimes and terrorism, and have close ties to Hashim Taqi#.
Bashkim Gazidede has another close associate among the Islamic fundamentalists: Abdul Latif Saleh, citizen of Jordan and Albania, considered an organizer of ties between Islamic and criminal groups in Chechnya, Kosovo and Jordan. Abdul Latif Saleh has set up a new terrorist organization in Kosovo known as “White Devils”.
The bank appears to enjoy protection from serious official scrutiny.
Banca del Gottardo
President Claudio Generali
leader of the Radical Democratic Party
Russian corruption and money-laundering operation
drug and weapons trafficking, prostitution and illegal immigration
UCK or KLA
Network for Ekrem Lluka – Syrian coonection
Fund for Reconstruction of Kosovo (FORK), in Lugano
Kosovo Albanian Radical group and organize crimes circle
Radical Islamist group
radically anti-Serb newspaper
head of the Mabetex construction company