This should be a "good surprise" for drug traffickers who traded a delivery truck in the underground garage of the Grand Casino in Basel in the afternoon of May 16 this year. Following indications from their international partners, they sued a cargo of cocaine that had previously arrived at the airport of Basel-Mulhouse with a private jet.
What the investigators did not expect: the "big boss" who is behind the delivery, according to a court decision, right in the Ford Transit sits. But he was there, Michael Dokovich, a Montenegrin with a dubious past, accompanied by two accomplices, a pilot and a computer scientist. In the trunk: 21 bags full of drugs, 600 kilograms of cocaine. This is the largest confiscation of narcotics ever recorded on Swiss soil.
Case Cocaine: The drugs were hidden in the luggage. Photo: PD
This surprised the Swiss authorities. It was said that they had to react "late in the evening" and "promptly" to the information provided by the Croatian authorities, said Fedpol Federal Police spokesman Thomas Dayer. "The big boss was himself on the spot – an error on his part," commented a Swiss police officer. "In principle, these large animals never get dirty hands.Its arrest was not planned, it was a unique opportunity."
The arrest of Montenegrin, 60 years old, was a "good surprise", according to Colonel François Després of the French gendarmerie. And the culmination of the operation "Familia", which lasts for months. "The delivery was monitored. After the landing, we had the product on the Basel side. This corresponds to the scenario of the Czech and Croatian authorities.
Here, Dokovich was arrested with two accomplices: the Grand Casino Basel. Photo: Keystone
Research conducted in collaboration with the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) platform shows the functioning of Dokovich's criminal machinations. How he spent cocaine with his private jet across Europe for years. And how the investigators seized him
Money in a Mercedes
According to Croatian sources, the investigation into the Familia operation begins at the end of 2017 and leads to a breakthrough in October 2018: among Croatians The Slovenian border near Zagreb, customs officials find a million euros in cash in the chassis of a Mercedes. In the car: Michael Dokovich's girlfriend. The money is confiscated, officials release Dokovich's girlfriend – and cling to their heels. During intercepted phone calls, his partner is proud to have organized dozens of similar remittances in recent years.
At that time, Montenegro was not hiding with a long criminal record. On Facebook, he presents himself openly as a jovial hotelier, owning a sumptuous establishment located in Tuzi, Montenegro, near the Albanian border.
In fact, according to the investigators, he would exchange cocaine from his apartment in Zagreb under various pseudonyms. His birth name: Ilmija Frljuckic. His band includes a corrupt Croatian policeman who provides him with information and helps him build false identities.
Dokovich buys his business with the spoils of American fraud that he led on a grand scale at the turn of the millennium. His gang stole the PIN codes of more than 20,000 bank customers at that time. Your scam: fake ATMs that copy card numbers and user codes. His accomplices were arrested, including his brother. But Dokovich was able to escape to Europe with millions of dollars in his suitcases.
Contacts of South America
The following years are in the dark. It is clear that Dokovich has developed his band into a powerful organization with connections around the world. Its network extends to Hong Kong, where police confiscated 421 kilograms of cocaine destined for Australia in April this year.
Dokovic's right-hand man, Petro "Pjer" Sarac, made contacts in South America and even let criminals from Costa Rica fly to Zagreb. This direct exchange with the South American cartels is one of the hallmarks of the new European kings of cocaine. "These Western Balkan groups are trying to act in front of them, much like Italians and Nigerians," said a Swiss police officer. "They are directly present in South America, probably to negotiate or arrange transport."
According to several investigators, Serbian, Montenegrin or Albanian organizations have become a growing force in the cocaine trade. They have been able to establish direct sales routes from South America to Europe without an intermediary, which minimizes costs and decreases the risk of being caught.
As container ship transport becomes more popular, Michael Dokovich chooses the fastest method for his fabric. distribute in the world: private jets. In early 2019, he founded the airline MD Global Jet and hired Czech pilots carrying VIP passengers accompanied by real flight attendants, which allowed them to profile themselves as a reputable company.
According to the Federal Supreme Court, Dokovich used a private plane for the transport of cocaine: The drug will be unloaded from the aircraft M-FISH on May 16 at the 39th. Basel airport. Photo: Europol
The flight movements of a Gulfstream V registered M-FISH – just the plane, with Dokovich, pursuant to a judgment issued by the Federal Criminal Court on 16 May – show the cocaine case – how Dokovich used his jets stolen in. And it was not the first trip to Switzerland: since 2016, M-FISH has landed more than a dozen times on Swiss soil. For example, the plane departed Albania via Geneva to travel to Basel on January 10, 2019.
The private jet aircraft covered four long-haul flights bound for the United States. South America between October 2018 and March 2019. According to the verdict, three of these South American flights are aimed at smuggling cocaine. On May 16, during the return flight from Uruguay, the investigators then traveled to Basel. The Fedpol has recorded the action as a major success. "Fedpol played a key role in ensuring a rapid exchange of information with the different countries involved," said spokesman Thomas Dayer.
The double life of allegedly hoteliers and private jet entrepreneurs seems to be over for Dokovich. He and his two accomplices must be extradited to Croatia. The computer scientist was transferred to the Croatian authorities on 4 October. The convictions of Dokovich and the pilot were dismissed by the Federal Criminal Court on 29 October.
Collaborators: Duke Quang Nguyen, Titus Plattner and Hannes von Wyl
This is the third part of an international series on cocaine. Read the first two stories here:
How gangs introduce cocaine into Swiss ships bound for Europe
Criminals use a new means of transport: "the scam": cocaine hidden in container ships. Affected is also a Geneva company. (Subscription +)
Created: 11.11.2019, 11:30