Police in Greece say a Balkan drug feud led to dozens of killings across Europe


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police on Friday announced the outcome of a yearslong, multinational investigation into feuding Balkan criminal gangs behind multiple killings across Europe. The probe, assisted by police agencies Interpol and Europol, has led to the arrests of 10 suspects.

Police officers in Greece, Serbia and Spain were involved in the arrests. According to police Maj. Gen. Fotis Douitsis, the decade-long rivalry among the gangs, mostly involved in drug trafficking, killed 60 alleged gang members in several European countries.

The killings include two shootings in Greece in 2020, when four members of one gang, living under false identities, were gunned down. Two suspected gangsters were killed at a restaurant near Athens and the two others in a car at a parking lot on the island of Corfu.

At the news conference in Athens, Greek police also said they have identified a total of 39 alleged members of the warring gangs based in Serbia and Montenegro.

“A single criminal organization split into two separate, rival organizations in 2014 when a shipment of 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cocaine in Spain was lost,” Doutsis told reporters.

Constantia Dimoglidou, a spokesperson for the Greek police, said an alleged gang member was arrested in Greece earlier this week, seven in Serbia and two in Spain. She said 17 other gang members are inmates in various European prisons, including in Serbia and Montenegro, as well as in Turkey.

The gangsters used migrant smuggling routes to enter and leave Greece, Dimoglidou said, as well as masks and wigs to conceal their identities during attacks.

The criminal networks had a sophisticated structure, easy access to large sums of money, vehicles, weapons, ammunition and equipment, she said.

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Stojanovic reported from Belgrade, Serbia.



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