By: The Center for Investigative Reporting
Nineteen people from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have been detained on suspicion they smuggled unprocessed meat from BiH and sold it in several counties on the Croatian coast, the Croatian Interior Ministry announced Thursday.
According to data from the Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK), the organized crime group smuggled at least 1,564 kilograms of meat, worth US$24,853.
Authorities believe this group also commited robberies and other crimes, stealing around US$80,757. They are also suspected of giving bribes and abuse of power. The total damage they caused is US$248,545.
The group’s leader ordered shipments of meat from several individuals in BiH, and the group then transported the meat across the BiH-Croatian border.
A veterinarian aided the smuggling group by stamping the meat with inspection stamps, without required documentation about its origins or quality, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN).
In addition, the smugglers evaded veterinary checks on border crossings, and did not declare the meat shipments. The meat was sold in Split-Dalmatia County and in the Zadar and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties on the Croatian coast.
Police forces from BiH, Slovenia and Austria cooperated with Croatian police in the operation.