Istanbul police search for body in Serbian gang leader’s garden

Istanbul police search for body in Serbian gang leader’s garden

Çetin Aydın - ISTANBUL
Istanbul police search for body in Serbian gang leader’s garden

Istanbul police have started digging the garden of the Serbian gang leader caught in Sarıyer to search for a dead body.

Zeljko Bojanic, sought by Interpol with a red notice, was detained in Istanbul on Nov. 6. The head of the Kavaka drug gang was captured in the Sarıyer district on suspicion of murdering a Serbian national, Risto Mijanovic, who has been missing for two years.

After Mijanovic’s disappearance, his lawyer filed a missing person complaint, but no finding could be found at that time.

According to the new information obtained by the police, Bojanic kidnapped Mijanovic, with whom he was fighting a gang war, in Istanbul and took him to a villa in Sarıyer, where he tortured, killed and buried him.

A body search was started with cadaver dogs in the garden of the villa, where Mijanovic was allegedly buried. No trace of the victim could be found during the work, police said.

Bojanic, code-named Boris, was determined to have entered the country with a fake passport under the name Andelew Belchew Jordan.

On Europol’s list of 45 most wanted criminals in Europe, he is believed to have been involved in a drug smuggling operation with an Austrian national between September 2014 and June 2015 in Slovenia, Brazil and Austria.

Istanbul has been witnessing Serbian gang wars lately. Jovan Vukotic, the head of the Skaljari drug gang, one of Serbia’s most notorious, was killed in an armed attack in the Şişli district on Sept. 7.

The police detained 12 people, including Kavaka’s leaders Radoje Zivkovic and Zdravko Perunovic.

A conflict broke out between Skaljari and Kavaka due to “300 kilos of cocaine lost in Spain’s Valencia Port” in 2014.

After the clashes that killed some gang members, the gang war moved to Istanbul, as the last move was Vukotic’s murder.

He was arrested in Türkiye in 2018 and extradited to Serbia, where the court sentenced him to 15 months in prison for using a forged Macedonian passport.

In February 2020, he was extradited to Montenegro, where he was charged with the attempted murder of another gang’s members. However, in July, the higher court in Podgorica dropped the charges and he was released.

Local media claimed that Vukotic, who was sought by Interpol with a red notice for drug dealing, entered Türkiye with a false identity and was killed by two shooters on the orders of this gang.