Bosnia is an important part of the so-called ‘Balkan route’ along which illicit drugs are smuggled from Albania to Western European countries.
In the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, authorities found 665 kilograms of what appears to be Cannabis Sativa inside a truck they stopped on the road near the southern coastal town of Neum. The drugs were headed toward Western European countries.
Although the amount is significant, It is only one of many shipments of that keep passing through the country on their way West.
“In 2016, Border Police confiscated more than a tonne of marijuana and stems of Cannabis Sativa. In 2017, 125 kilograms of marijuana was confiscated and in the first six months of this year 90 kilograms of marijuana and a kilogram of heroin were confiscated,” Border Police spokesperson Sanela Dujkovic told N1.
Those who want to bring illicit drugs into Bosnia often do so avoiding border crossings, crossing the border at different locations by foot. In such cases, it is usually larger amounts of drugs that are being smuggled.
Sometimes border authorities manage to reveal a drug smuggling ring. Other times long-term police operations are needed for this to happen.
This was the case in Zenica last year, when authorities confiscated 82 kilograms of heroin.
“In that particular case, we received information that a shipment had left Bulgaria, had passed through Serbia and was supposed to pass through Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to reach the Republic of Croatia and continue further toward the EU,” said spokesperson of the Indirect Taxation Authority, Ratko Kovacevic.
The European Commission included the issue of drug smuggling in its annual Progress Report for Bosnia as well.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina remained a country of drugs transit and storage. Domestic demand for drugs increased slightly, especially for polydrugs (…) Operational activities continued to be coordinated on a case-by-case basis.” the 2018 report said.
According to data from the Security Ministry, a gram of heroin in major Bosnian cities such as Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar, costs between 20 and 30 Euro, while a gram of cocaine can cost up to 75 Euro.
The Government has adopted a strategy on the battle against drugs which states that, in 2016, nearly 1,500 crimes had a connection with illicit drugs. The number of such cases prosecuted on a yearly basis is between 320 and 380.