By: J.S., STA
The Ljubljana District Court has found eight people guilty of drug trafficking and related criminal acts and sentenced them to a total of 28 years in prison. The ruling is not yet final, and the sentencing of the alleged leader of the ring has been postponed to autumn due to illness.
Jure Močnik, Branko Šćulija, Samir Velić, Anis Ličina, Jure Slaviček, Luka Korošec Lazić, Svetlan Stjepić and Jernej Kotnik were found guilty of unlawful manufacture and trade of narcotic drugs, illicit substances in sport and precursors to manufacture narcotic drugs as the court declared the ruling on Wednesday.
Stjepić and Šćulija received the highest sentences – seven and a half years in prison each, and a fine of EUR 10,000.
Ličina and Kotnik were sentenced to three years and a half years in prison each, with the former being also slapped with a EUR 7,000 fine, and the latter with a EUR 6,000 fine.
Slaviček and Močnik were sentenced to two and a half years in prison and got a EUR 5,000 fine each, while Korošec Lazić was sentenced to year and a half in prison and will have to pay a EUR 2,000 fine.
The panel of judges, chaired by Srečko Škerbec, found that it was a typical, hierarchically organised criminal ring that carefully checked undercover police officers, including the addresses of their residences, and photographed their documents.
In agreement with the undercover police officers, they planned to transport 30 kilos of cocaine from Ecuador to the Slovenian port of Koper and the Croatian port of Rijeka, but the scheme had not been fully implemented.
Ring members have been found guilty of trading in heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, hashish and amphetamines from September 2017 to January 2020 in Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, to earn at least EUR 1.3 million.
A total of 33 people had been initially charged, and the trial has ended for 13 people, who did not immediately plead guilty. Five people have been acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The trial took place without the chief defendant, Aleš Zupančič, who fell ill a few weeks ago. His lawyer was expected to deliver closing arguments yesterday, but she had also fallen ill, so this part of the trial was postponed to the autumn.