Jovan Vukotic, the alleged head of the notorious Skaljari drug gang based out of Montenegro, has reportedly been killed in Turkey.
According to local media reports, Vukotic was shot dead from a motorcycle while riding in a car with his wife and daughter.
Montenegrin police have confirmed that reports Vukotic was killed in Turkey have not yet been officially confirmed.
“Montenegrin services are trying to get information and confirmation from colleagues in Turkey. However, the procedure is slow,” the Police Directorate told Montenegrin reporters.
Vukotic was on the run from Montenegrin judicial authorities after they issued a red warrant for his arrest in September last year.
In Montenegro police records and security documents, Vukotic is listed as one of the leaders of the Skaljari drug gang based in the Montenegrin town of Kotor.
When questioned in 2018, Vukotic denied any involvement in drug trafficking.
In December 2020, however, the Montenegrin Special State Prosecution charged Vukotic with the creation of a criminal organisation, and of planning the murder of three members of the rival Kavac drug gang.
According to prosecutors, those Vukotic planned to kill included Slobodan Kascelan, the alleged head of the Kavac gang, as well as Veljko Belivuk and Marko Miljkovic, other notorious crime bosses based in Serbia.
Vukotic was charged on the basis of evidence secured by former communications network and service provider Sky ECC. This evidence was then passed on by French and Dutch police to Montenegrin authorities, regarding crimes that included drug trafficking, murder and kidnapping.
The Skaljari gang has been involved in a long-running war with the rival Kavac gang for six years. So far, at least 40 individuals have been killed in Montenegro, Austria, Greece and Serbia as a result of the conflict.
Both of the rival gangs draw their names from the neighbourhoods of Kotor, a town of barely 20,000 inhabitants in Montenegro’s Boka Bay.
The gang war began in 2015, after 300 kilograms of cocaine disappeared from an apartment in Valencia, Spain, the previous year.
Vukotic was arrested in Turkey in 2018, and later extradited to Serbia, where the High Court in Belgrade sentenced him to 15 months in prison for using a forged passport.
Then, in February 2020, Vukotic was extradited to Montenegro. There, he was charged with the attempted murder of Kavac gang members. At the time, the media reported that rival gang members had tried to kill Vukotic while he was in prison in Montenegro.
Those charges were dropped in July that year, and Vukotic was released.
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