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Serbia Jails Balkan Drug Lord For 20 Years

A Balkan drug lord was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Serbian court on July 13 for trafficking 5.7 tons of cocaine from South America to Europe.

Darko Saric denies the allegations and refused to be present for the reading of the verdict by a special organized crime court in Belgrade.

Saric’s lawyer, Radoslav Bacovic, said that he would appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

Saric was charged with being the mastermind and leader of a powerful criminal organization that in 2008 and 2009 smuggled cocaine from South America through the Balkan countries to Western Europe.

Twenty-one gang members were also sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and three were acquitted.

Known as “the cocaine king of the Balkans,” Saric surrendered in March 2014 after almost five years on the run.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Balkan Service, Reuters and AP