Zemun Clan

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Zemun Clan
Founding location Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia
Years active 1990s–present
Territory Zemun
Ethnicity Serb
Membership (est.) 2,000 members
10,000 foot-soldiers[1]
Criminal activities Arms trafficking, bribery, burglary, drug trafficking, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, Kidnapping, money laundering, murder, Racketeering, robbery and theft

The Zemun Clan is one of the Belgrade clans of the Serbian Mafia. The name is based on the base of the clan located in Zemun, a municipality of Belgrade. The peak of the clan occurred from 2000 to 2003 and until today they were one of the most powerful organizations in Southeast Europe.

History[edit]

In 1992, the gang of "Peca" was arrested. One of the members was Dušan Spasojević, who would later become the head of the Zemun clan.[2]

The clan grew in prominence after the downfall of Slobodan Milošević with an influx of many Red Berets paramilitaries, including Milorad Ulemek. These were people who had military training, wartime experience and connections with elements of the Serbian state secret service UDBA.

In September 2001, 700 kilos of heroin was found in a bank vault rented by the BIA in central Belgrade. The illegal safekeeping was never explained nor brought up.[3]

In 2001, the Zemun clan organized "special training courses" with the BIA, lending them information on Kosovo Albanian insurgents in exchange.[3]

During the period that started with the Yugoslav Wars and ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić in March 2003, connections between the Serbian Mafia and the government were obvious and corruption was rampant in most branches of the state, from border patrols to law-enforcement agencies. On 12 March 2003, Đinđić was assassinated by former Special Operations Unit member Zvezdan Jovanović. The government then set in motion a major operation against criminality during Operation Sabre, which led to more than 10,000 arrests. The revenue of New Belgrade malls, locations frequented by gangsters, plummeted by more than 20+% after the Operation.[4] Milan Sarajlić, the Deputy State Prosecutor of Serbia, was arrested and confessed to being on the payroll of the Zemun clan.[5] The Red Berets were dissolved on 23 March 2003.[6]

In 2006, it was revealed that Dušan Spasojević, the gang leader of the Zemun clan, was a source of information to Serbian Radical leader Vojislav Šešelj, whom he had given information about high-profile murders carried out in Serbia, written about in Šešelj's two books (Šešelj referred to Spasojević under the pseudonym Laufer)[7]

In November 2009, Argentine Police arrested 5 Serbian drug couriers and seized their 492 kilograms of cocaine in Buenos Aires.[8] On 31 October 2009, Serbian police arrested over 500 people in the biggest ever anti-drug operation carried out in Serbia.[8][9] The routes of the drugs were from Uruguay and Argentina to South Africa to Northern Italy, Turkey and Montenegro.[8]

Serbian organized crime experts estimated that 10,000 foot soldiers form a part of the 5 major organized crime groups operating in the country.[1] A courier package of 5 kilos of cocaine was intercepted from Paraguay and 4 Belgraders were arrested.[10] The busts were part of Operation Balkan Warrior; an international drug smuggling case that involves mainly the Zemun Clan. The leader of the drug ring is Željko Vujanović.[10][11]

Notable People[edit]

Name
Alias
Born/died Title Info
Mafiosi
Dušan Spasojević
"Šiptar, Duća"
1968–2003 Head Head of the Zemun Clan. Spasojević was killed by Serbian police on 27 March 2003 during a country-wide manhunt initiated after the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić.
Mile Luković
"Kum"
1969–2003 Head One of the heads of the Zemun Clan and a co-conspirator in the assassination of Zoran Đinđić. Killed along with Dušan Spasojević by Serbian police on 27 March 2003.
Milorad Ulemek
"Legija, Milorad Luković, Meker"
1968– Boss Arkan's Tigers member during the Yugoslav Wars, transferred into the Red Berets by Slobodan Milošević. Currently serving a 40-year prison sentence for his involvement in Đinđić's assassination. Sentenced to 80 more years for the murder of Ivan Stambolić and the attempted murder of Vuk Drašković.
Zvezdan Jovanović
"Zveki, Zmija (Snake)"
1965– Hitman A former member of the Serbian Volunteer Guard led by Željko Ražnatović Arkan, and later a Red Berets member serving under the command of Milorad Ulemek. Assassin of Zoran Đinđić. Currently serving a 40-year prison sentence.
Vladimir Milisavljević
"Budala (Fool)"
Often described as one of the key members of the clan. He earned his nickname because he is known as the only clan member with a higher education degree. He managed to avoid arrest in the immediate aftermath of Đinđić's assassination. Sentenced in absentia to 35 year in prison for his involvement in the assassination. Arrested on 9 February 2012 in Valencia, Spain. Currently awaiting extradition to Serbian authorities.
Sretko Kalinić
"Zver (Beast), Beli (White)"
1974– Hitman Clan's hitman who was known for his cruelty. He managed to avoid arrest in the immediate aftermath of Đinđić's assassination. He is indicted for numerous assassinations of clan opponents and victims. Arrested in June 2010 in Zagreb, Croatia after surviving a murder attempt by Miloš Simović. Currently serving his 30-year sentence for his involvement in Đinđić's assassination, while being trialed for several other serious crimes in the Special Court for Organized Crime in Belgrade. On 7 February 2010, he attempted an unsuccessful escape with Željko Milovanović from the prison unit of the Special Court in Belgrade.
Dejan Milenković
"Bagzi"
Managed to avoid arrest in the immediate aftermath of Đinđić's murder. Arrested in July 2004 in Thessaloniki, Greece. He decided to cooperate with Serbian authorities and managed to obtain the status of a protected witness in exchange for giving incriminating evidence against other Zemun Clan members.
Miloš Simović
1979– One of the younger clan members. He served as a messenger between Dušan Spasojević, Mile Luković and Milorad Ulemek. He managed to avoid arrest in the immediate aftermath of Đinđić's murder but was sentenced in absentia to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the assassination. Arrested on 10 July 2010 while trying to cross the border between Serbia and Croatia, after he unsuccessfully tried to kill Sretko Kalinić days earlier in Zagreb, Croatia.
Aleksandar Simović
1976– Brother of Miloš Simović. Currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for his involvement in Đinđić's murder.
Ninoslav Konstantinović
"Nino"
–2003 Managed to avoid arrest in the immediate aftermath of Đinđić's murder and was sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison for his involvement in the assassination. Allegedly killed by Miloš Simović.
Milan Jurišić
"Jure"
Managed to avoid arrest in the immediate aftermath of Đinđić's murder. Sentenced in absentia to 30-year prison sentence for his involvement in this assassination. Killed in Spain by Miloš Simović.
Željko Milovanović
1966– Another former Red Berets member. He was not involved directly in the murder of Đinđić, however, he was wanted by Serbian authorities for a series of gunpoint bank robberies. He was arrested several times and several times he managed to escape from various institutions in Serbia. He was arrested on 31 May 2009 in Belgrade for the murder of Croatian newspaper tycoon Ivo Pukanić. The trial was held in Serbia as at the time Serbia and Croatia did not have a bilateral extradition agreement. On 7 February, he attempted an unsuccessful escape, with Sretko Kalinić from the prison unit of the Special Court in Belgrade.
Luka Bojović
Boss Originally one of the less prominent clan members. He took over the Clan's business after the demise of the original clan leadership in the aftermath of the assassination of Zoran Đinđić. According to Serbian authorities, he organized at least 11 murders of Clan opponents. Arrested on 9 February 2012 in Valencia, Spain. Currently awaiting extradition to Serbian authorities.
Siniša Petrić
"Zenica"
Hitman A former member of the notorious gang of Marinko Magda. Also a former member of the Serbian Volunteer Guard. He was allegedly expelled for lack of discipline by Željko Ražnatović. In the mid-90s he was sentenced to death according to the Serbian criminal law that was valid at that time, for a series of murders in north Serbia and south Hungary. He was awaiting the execution of his sentence in prison near Istok in Kosovo in 1999 when the Kosovo War broke out. He disappeared from prison under mysterious circumstances. Arrested on 9 February 2012 in Valencia, Spain. Currently awaiting extradition to Serbian authorities.

References[edit]