Prosecutor, High State Prosecution Office, Podgorica, Montenegro
Ana Radović's success story is a powerful reminder of the importance of seizing opportunities and taking action quickly. As an alumna of ILEA, Ana has leveraged the knowledge and skills she gained through the program to achieve remarkable success in her career. In her own words, Ana shares how her willingness to act fast has led to new opportunities and collaborations with regional partners. Read on to discover Ana's inspiring journey and the valuable lessons she has learned along the way:
“In September 2022 the course on International Post-Blast Investigations. One of the points that our ATF instructors insisted on during the training was the importance of cooperation with experts in the field of chemistry. Listening to the ATF agents I was thinking about my on-going case, on which I worked as instructed and I was in close cooperation with the chemist on the investigation of international cocaine smuggling. The story begins in July 2022, when I was informed by the police that there is a suspicious shipment of 24 tons of organic fertilizer from Columbia in the international Seaport of the town of Bar, which had been ordered by a natural person from Tirana, Republic of Albania. I was also informed that the customs officers checked the shipment by scanning and their tools, but that they failed to find anything suspicious. We then contacted a chemistry expert from the national Forensics Centre, and in a joint meeting agreed to use random sampling and collect one sample from a random sack of fertilizer from every palette, since checking the sacks using standard machines yielded no results. The chemist gave priority to this case and through forensic examination concluded without a doubt that cocaine was mixed into the sacks of organic fertilizer, and through statistical calculations we concluded that the shipment contains a total of 400 kg of cocaine. This is a novel method of mixing cocaine with fertilizer and it is sophisticated since it is impossible for the customs officials to detect the cocaine using standard tools, and the chemical forensic examination was of crucial importance. I made contact with the State Prosecutor in Tirana, Republic of Albania, and agreed with him to perform a controlled delivery in this case, and cooperation was also established at the police level between the two countries. On my proposal, the court adopted an order for secret surveillance of the shipment, so we started covertly following and monitoring the shipment using GPS trackers. The operation was successfully kept secret and the recipient of the shipment, after procuring the import license for it (a procedure that was slightly prolonged since this was the first time to import this type of fertilizer in Albania), received the shipment and transported it by land to Albania/ The transport occurred exactly while I was at the training in Budapest, and I toasted to it with wine (paid by Mike and the other agents.) During the entire controlled delivery, I was in close contact with the State Prosecutor from Albania, who continued the operation on the territory of Albania and after two months of monitoring the shipment and all the persons involved in this operation, on November 24th 2022, the State Prosecutor issued warrants for the arrest of 11 persons, 9 of which were Albanian citizens, 1 German and 1 Columbian citizen. They have been charged with the illegal trafficking of narcotics and creating a criminal enterprise. The value of the seized cocaine is approximately 40 million dollars. Our cooperation is still on-going, both at the official level, providing mutual legal assistance, and at the personal and direct level. My colleague invited me to visit Tirana, which I will gladly accept and I am planning to do it in the forthcoming period.
This story shows that, besides the formal and official cooperation, best results are achieved through cooperation realized at the level of personal and direct contact, both between the different government bodies in our own country, and at the international, or in this case, regional level, between me and the acting prosecutor on the case, to whom I wish success in the courtroom, which I believe will certainly happen.”
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