21 March 2007

Smuggling knows no borders

KiM Info Newsletter 22-12-06

Increasing numbers of smuggling channels between Montenegro and Kosovo
Dan, Podgorica, December 15, 2006

Near the administrative crossing of Kula (between Kosovo and) Montenegro, police confiscated 5,438 cartons of cigarettes, and a few days later at the same crossing a truck was discovered illegally transporting one ton of fuel, Kosovo police advised. In mid-November a police patrol confiscated 3,283 cartons of cigarettes, which were confiscated and turned over to the customs service. In the village of Ponosec while searching an automobile police confiscated 20 metal boxes containing 10,800 7.62mm caliber bullets in a larger box hidden with bags containing animal feed. According to respected experts, the primary reason for the increase in smuggling from Kosovo to Montenegro in the last two years is poor security and porous borders.

Military-political analyst Milovan Drecun believes that the problem began when the army, the only organization able to confront the problem logistically and in terms of manpower, was withdrawn from the borders. "It's completely clear that the Montenegrin Ministry of Internal Affairs is unable to prevent the smuggling of weapons and other good and the infiltration of terrorists. The few cases revealed since the police assumed border security is just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in reality. The smuggling triangle Kosovo-Albania-Montenegro has been functioning since 1999 when weapons, cigarettes, fuels and other goods entered by way of Montenegro. Now this has boomeranged on Montenegro," said Drecun.

According to Drecun, all relevant international organizations are aware of this route and Montenegro will have serious problems in the future because of it.

"In a comprehensive UNMIK study on organized crime in Kosovo and Metohija that I saw there is information about well established and well organized channels for smuggling dutiable goods, drugs and humans, as well as that those channels include individuals close to Montenegrin political structure. As well, according to confidential NATO and KFOR information to which I have access, it is evident that one of the main drug smuggling channels runs from Turkey by way of Kosovo and Montenegro," emphasized Drecun.

He emphasized that "there is no question that the Montenegrin regime has failed to do anything serious to secure the state border with Serbia toward the territory of Kosovo and the border with Albania out of practical political considerations.

"On the contrary, the Montenegrin regime has intentionally allowed a porous border for illegal transistors and smugglers. This danger to Montenegro will become very acute in the future because of plans by Albanian separatists to destabilize the state by injecting weapons. Finally, for years no one from the Montenegrin regime has cared to explain information that is constantly being circulated about joint illegal dealings by Albanian terrorists and criminals from Kosovo with individuals close to the top of the Montenegrin regime. This criminal business connection resulted in Albanian terrorists securing the dismissal of then director of the Military Security Agency, General Momir Stojanovic. All this should remind the regime of the old adage "he who plants squash with the Devil will find it bruises his head" - except this time around the citizens will pay the bill, not the regime."