A three-day operational meeting with representatives of the State Criminal Investigation Department in Vienna and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations from Belgrade Police took place from 30 July – 1 August 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen the cooperation among the operating police investigating organised crime groups trafficking narcotics throughout Austria and Serbia.

During the meetings joint initiatives were coordinated and Serbian investigators were also able to listen to telephone conversations, previously recorded by Austrian colleagues, that shed important insight into the modus operandi of their relevant suspects.

Updated results of the investigation “Operation Street Runner – Cloud Project” were presented and they highlight the efficiency of such collaborations. The investigation pursues crimes on international drug trafficking and murders (committed among criminal groups to manage the drug market) and has been initiated for approximately two years, involving Serbia, Austria and parts of Hungary (as a transit area). It has led to 402 arrests of narcotic dealers, and the seizing of 60 kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of cocaine and over 25 pistols and machine pistols. The latest arrest took place on 26 August 2019, when 3 suspects traveling from Serbia were identified and arrested in the center of Vienna with 1.5 kilograms of heroin.

Undercover operations within the investigation produced positive results as well, such as 502 years of final imprisonment, 135 cases in the procedure of preparing court trails, 16 Public Prosecutors in Vienna attached to the above-mentioned cases with suspects (95%) coming from Serbia and Montenegro. Currently 40 interceptions are running, as well as several undercover operations and surveillance measures.

The IPA/2017 Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans supported this meeting as part of its effort to support international investigations and to combat serious and organised crime. The meeting was held under the legal framework of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE).