The banana king or coke baron, in Montenegro, the enigma of the Krstovic trial

Among the products offered that day was one of the most valuable and called Budimir Krstovic, “Buda Banana”. This Serbo-Montenegrin businessman has been importing exotic fruits from South America to the Balkans for thirty years. But on August 24, 2021, while unloading a box of bananas in the refrigerator store of his company, San Francisco, in the school of Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, the situation turned again. The police came out of hiding, surrounded the operators and seized the cargo. Within minutes, the authorities seized 1.2 tonnes of cocaine packed between the eggs.

“Buda Banana” returned by plane from Belgrade a few hours later. On nerves, upon reaching the tornado in the store, the manager called around: “Who did that?”, giving a sense of doubt to some of his employees. But Budimir Krstovic was put in a police car and then locked up in Spuz prison. His daughter, Marina, 28, responsible for the “sales” branch in the family business, was also arrested. The work, nicknamed “187”, was a great success.

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A year later, the duo is behind bars. Since February 28, Mr. Krstovic and his daughter before the Supreme Court in Podgorica. A criminal trial, the last trial was held on July 15. From the day of the arrest, the Krstovics denied involvement in this cocaine trade. From Milan, where he lived, the other daughter of Mr. Krstovic, Sandra, her opinion of the truth. “The lawsuit against my father gives an opportunity to pretend that the authorities fight drugshe told the Earth. They have no evidence and in other countries they have been released. »

This catch of more than one ton, the largest in the Balkans, sends a strong signal

The work went smoothly. On the basis of tips sent by the DEA, the American anti-drug agency, the Montenegrin police discovered that packages of drugs were running in the cargo of bananas loaded at the port of Bolivar , in Ecuador. After crossing the Atlantic aboard MSC Katyathen the Mediterranean to the MSC Charlottehe landed at the port of Bar, on the Adriatic, the main commercial center of the country, under close observation.

According to one of the police who came to testify in court on June 8, Budimir Krstovic was not initially considered a suspect. According to the official, the order to search the boxes was given only after the agents lost sight of the goods. That’s when they found, as expected, hundreds of cocaine bars of one kilo each, bearing the label “Covid”, their trade name.

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