Drug ring busted, 15 suspects indicted

Celje – Celje police have indicted 15 suspects over 49 counts related to drug trafficking, transport of illegal migrants, classified information leaking and bribery, Celje Criminal Police chief Damijan Turk told the press on Monday.

The police completed a large investigation of drug trafficking, which started in mid-2020, conducting 16 house searches and arresting 12 suspects last week.

Seven suspects were brought before an investigating magistrate on Friday, with six remanded in custody.

The drug ring based in the broader area of Celje featured several citizens of Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and North Macedonia, who purchased, stored and sold cocaine and cannabis across the country.

Its individual members also organised transport of illegal migrants from Croatia via Slovenia to Italy.

“In two cases, police pulled over individual members of the ring with 58 migrants and two drivers while they were en route to Italy,” said Turk.

“In another two cases, the ring managed to successfully take illegal migrants across the border from Slovenia to Italy.”

During the investigation, the police realised the ring had some sensitive information, only to discover that they had received them from a Celje District Court employee.

The stenographer, working for the criminal department since 2018, provided the ring information such as what activities police would conduct or where, for personal gain.

The suspect has disclosed at least 100 sensitive documents, as a result of which a large number of investigations were less successful than they could have been.

If found guilty, he could go to jail for up to eight years, Turk said in a statement to the press.

The Celje District Court said the stenographer was no longer employed at the court, and no longer has access to the court’s premises or data bases.

It explained that the suspect had had access to the sensitive data as part of his job.

The 15 suspects have been indicted for 38 counts related to drug production or trafficking, six to leaking classified information, one to giving a bribe, and four to illegal crossing of the border.

The suspects are aged from 22 to 50, with the oldest among them having had run-ins with the police before.