Newsbrief: Post-Assassination Serbian Crackdown Creates Drug Panic 4/4/03

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The intersection of politics and organized crime has resulted in a reported heroin shortage in the Serbian capital of Belgrade as government security forces conduct massive sweeps of gangsters blamed for the March 12 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindic. Serbian authorities blame the Zemun gang, a major Balkans drug trafficking group named for a posh Belgrade suburb, for the murder, and have arrested nearly 3,000 of its members as "suspects in the assassination."

As a result, Belgrade addiction specialists told Reuters last week, drug prices are soaring in Belgrade and hard drug users are now seeking medical help at a record rate. According to experts cited by Reuters, some 30,000 Belgrade addicts depend on the Zemun gang to provide their drugs. About 900 of them have come in for treatment each week since the assassination, an increase of 80% over pre-crackdown numbers. Police authorities warned that desperate addicts could cause a violent crime wave to find cash to feed their ever more expensive habits.

Balkan trafficking organizations play a key role as conduits for heroin coming from Central Asia to Europe, and have increasingly branched out into cocaine, as well as other organized crime activities. The leaders of the Zemun gang remain at large.

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Issue #281, 4/4/03 Week Online Fundraising Update | Editorial: Reasonable Doubt Routinely | Victory in Tulia! | Rosenthal Asks for New Trial, Cites Juror Violations | Drug Czar Gives Up on Drugs and Terror Ad Campaign, Also Cancels Studies to Track Ads' Effectiveness | Drug Czar Sends Flunkies to Try to Stop Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Initiative | DRCNet Interview: Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament | Newsbrief: Reform Rumblings Begin in Brazil, While Commands Create Chaos | Newsbrief: Post-Assassination Serbian Crackdown Creates Drug Panic | Newsbrief: Jamaican Official Promises Ganja Decrim Bill Soon | Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Passes Final Hurdle | Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Indiana | Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Iowa and Illinois | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Web Scan: New HR95, JAPHA on Syringe Sales, Reason, Mama Coca, OAS | Clinical Cannabis Conference CDs Available | Job Listings: Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless | The Reformer's Calendar
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