Drug trafficking a constant problem in EU member state

Drug trafficking a constant problem in EU member state

Drug use is on the rise in Croatia, which could lead to a general deterioration in public safety, the interior ministry says. Police officers seize drugs from time to time, but the supply seems to be steady. Cocaine is available everywhere, an expert says.


Balkan „cooperation”

Croatian police have crowned their fight against drug crime with the seizure of 95 kg of cocaine buried in a yard near Zagreb in the last days of 2022. The suspect is a 57-year-old North Macedonian national, who has alreaddy been implicated in the possession of 24 kilograms of cocaine, making him the main suspect in a case that involves 119 kilograms of drugs.

Photo: Police of Croatia

The man was suspected of having bought, stored and then resold cocaine with his Macedonian, Croatian and Bulgarian partners, accoridng to police. It appears that the threads therefore are leading to citizens of several Balkan countries.

Photo: Police of Croatia

According to what we know so far, the 57-year-old man was in charge of buying and selling drugs, while a female accomplice was responsible for identifying the sources of danger that could cause problems in the execution of the crime.

Experts, however, warn that despite this significant catch, cocaine is not disappearing from the black market.

Drazen Rastovic, head of the Croatian Interior Ministry’s anti-drug crime service, told reporters that the police are facing more and more problems with drug-related crime every year.

In the first 11 months of 2022, the Adriatic country has seen large seizures of all kinds of drugs, with more than 22 kg of heroin and around 350 kg of cocaine, as well as more than a tonne of marijuana, Mr Rastovic said.

Cocaine can be accessed anywhere, expert says

Despite repeated seizures, there is no shortage of drugs sold in the streets in Croatia, Hajrudin Merdanovic says. The journalist and author of a book on the subject believes that police are doing their job, yet supply on the drug market remains steady.

„For instance, this 95 kilograms have been seized and won’t go on the market. But you can’t even notice that it’s missing, because cocaine will remain available in every street, in every city or in every cafe today – just as it was yesterday or the day before, and tomorrow will be no different,” the expert says.

The underlying reason is the huge profit margins involved, which attract people like a magnet to this type of crime, Mr Merdanovic pointed out, adding that perpetrators do not care if they destroy the subsistence, life and family of drug addicts, they are only motivated by money.

The expert briefly assessed the success of the fight against drugs.

kép: Horvát Rendőrség//Image: Croatia police

Take cocaine or heroin. Are they available in the street? If they are, then something is wrong,” Mr Merdanovic said.

Although the journalist acknowledged that the police are actively engaged in combating drugs and that cooperation between the states in the region is good, but obviously not as excellent as in cross-border cooperation in criminal investigations.

Drug use on the rise in Croatia

The 2021 report on the activities of the Croatia police reveals that a total of 3,324 drug-related crimes were registered in 2021 compared to 2,636 in 2020, which is an 11.8 per cent drop

The document shows that the country’s drug-related problems remained unchanged, and current trends are cause for concern. A growing number of people consuming drugs and possessing drugs in smaller quantities for personal use has become a trend, the report points out. This phenomenon can have an adverse effect on public security in the long term, Croatia’s interior ministry highlights.



balkan, cocaine, croatia, drug, heroin