A ‘new’ international Mafia that is said to have originated in the Balkans was discovered in France and Monaco, and then dismantled after a two year-long investigation that brought together multiple police agencies.

Seventeen, people were arrested on Tuesday, October 3 during an operation carried out by the Anti-Narcotics Office Ofast, the Central Office for the Repression of Serious Financial Delinquency OCRGDF, the Nice judicial police and the Monegasque police. Eleven individuals, including a recently-retired Monaco police officer, were presented to an investigating judge with serious charges including organised gang importation of drugs, possession and acquisition of category A and B weapons, and aggravated money laundering. Of the 11 investigated, nine individuals were placed in pre-trial detention.

The sprawling police investigation managed to infiltrate this criminal organisation through the exploitation of conversations held on the supposedly securely-encrypted SkyECC network. Having carefully analysed the incriminating conversations, investigators were also able to track multiple banking and financial movements, from which a Serbian individual was identified.

The Serb, a 43 year-old man, is believed to be at the heart of a major criminal group engaged in the trafficking of narcotics. Worse still, the individual is said to have bragged about having tortured and killed people, and he is also said to have had a “close relationship” with the Monaco police officer, a source close to the investigation told Le Figaro.

It is believed that the major criminal group that the Serbian national has been found at the centre of is mainly active in the Côte d’Azur, wherein significant quantities of cocaine were imported from the Dominican Republic before being distributed amongst smaller dealers who resold the drug along the Riviera, or sent the substance to other European countries.

According to Le Parisien, the Serbian was involved in the trafficking of weapons of war, including submachine guns and assault rifles. During a search, two handguns, just over 19,000 euros in cash, luxury watches and an armoured Audi A8 were seized.

In an effort to clean their dirty money, the criminal organisation reinvested in property, “in a cascade of shell companies, part of which could be used for real estate development projects in the Alpes-Maritimes,” a source told AFP.

Featured image: French Police Judiciaire