Serbian mafia boss arrested over killing of Croatian journalist

Serbian mafia boss arrested over killing of Croatian journalistBelgrade - Belgrade police on Monday arrested Serbia's most powerful outlaw figure Sreten Jocic on suspicion of murdering Croatian editor and publisher Ivo Pukanic last year, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said. Dacic said Jocic, aka Joca Amsterdam, was arrested in a coordinated police action and that he is suspected of participating in the murder of Pukanic.

Jocic's attorney briefly told journalists that the police were searching though his client's house but made no other comment.

Belgrade B92 television reported that Jocic, 47, was arrested in the house of the late former president Slobodan Milosevic which he was renting in the upmarket Belgrade neighbourhood of Dedinje.

Pukanic, the editor of Nacional weekly, was a controversial figure in Croatia and had links with figures on both sides of the law. He and his marketing director were killed in a bomb blast in downtown Zagreb last October.

Croatian media reported last week that a witness told local police that the so-called cocaine king of Europe has organized and ordered the murder of Pukanic.

Serbian media are speculating that Jocic was also involved in the killing of two narcotics bosses in Belgrade last Friday when police found two charred bodies in the wreckage of a Jeep. Media reports that one of the men allegedly owed Jocic half a million euros.

In the early 1990s Jocic was a cocaine boss in the Netherlands where he was arrested in 1993, after which he fled to Bulgaria to become the local drug boss.

Bulgaria extradited him in 2002 to the Netherlands but he was released due to lack of evidence. He awaits trial in Serbia over his suspected connection with several murders.

The murder of Pukanic shook the Croatian public and local police promptly arrested several suspects. Serbian media reports say that a former member of the Serbian security forces suspecting of having planted the bomb is still at large.(dpa)