Serbian Transnational Criminal Organizations
The Serbians? Some say they are back on track, while others say they are long gone.
Serbian TCOs are politically and financially motivated groups that are responsible for causing significant financial harm to the United States each year. Unlike traditional organized crime groups, they tend to operate around ethnic associations and friendship ties. They also appear to be more agile, organic, and project-based. Serbian TCOs are adept at adopting new technological methods to enhance their illicit activities, thus increasing their ability to expand their criminal market base through cyber-enabled fraud. These groups engage in a myriad of illegal ventures including passport fraud, access device fraud, identity theft, healthcare fraud, real estate fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, human smuggling, prostitution, and extortion.
Organized crime in the Balkans has its roots in the traditional clan structures. In these largely rural countries, people organized into clans with large familial ties for protection and mutual collaboration. Starting in the 15th century, clan relationships operated under the kanun, or code, which values loyalty and besa, or secrecy. Each clan established itself in specific territories and controlled all activities in that territory. The protection of activities and interests often lead to violence between the clans. The elements inherent in the structure of the clans provided the perfect backbone for what is considered modern-day Balkan organized crime.
Many years of communist rule led to black market activities in the Balkans, but the impact of these activities was limited to the region. When communism collapsed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it led to the expansion of Balkan organized crime activities. Criminal markets once closed to Balkan groups suddenly opened, and this led to the creation of an international network. Within the Balkans, organized crime groups infiltrated the new democratic institutions, further expanding their profit opportunities.
Balkan criminal organizations have been active in the U.S. since the mid-1980s. At first, these organizations were involved in low-level crimes, including bank robberies, ATM burglaries, and home invasions. Later, ethnic Albanians and Serbians affiliated themselves with the established LCN families in New York, acting as low-level participants. As their communities and presence have become more established, they have expanded to lead and control their own organizations, spreading across multiple states.
There is no single Balkan “Mafia” structured hierarchically like the traditional La Cosa Nostra (LCN). Rather, Balkan organized crime groups transcended their clan-like structure to the United States. They are not clearly defined or organized and are instead grouped around a central leader or leaders. Organized crime figures maintain ties back to the Balkan region and have established close-knit communities in many cities across the nation.
The Red Berets
It's like a Council. They all have input on big decisions.
Upon the passing of Novak Blagojević due to natural causes, Branko Lazarević was left with no choice but to return, reclaim the organization and take hold of the Serbian-American operation again. With the sudden unrest, a lot of notable figures were found dead, including a prominent underboss in what is believed to be a power move made by Branko upon obtaining information that a coup was in the making. Under Branko's reign, the organization continued to grow in power and their influence on the streets of Los Santos was inimitable.
Then came the new players on the table; Sergej Ljubić, Slobodan Milovanović, and Srdjan "Srki" Ljubić. Time passed by and the trio eventually managed to be a part of Branko Lazarević and his Council, which included Miodrag Krcmarik as well. The Council makes the input on all big decisions surrounding the operation in Los Santos.
As Damir "Knele" Knežević and later on, Srdjan "Srki" Ljubić would say, 'Same shit, different date'.
Recently emerged, the crew appears to be maintaining a low profile and is often seen supervising Yars Jewelry or gathering either at the table in front or behind in the alleyway. The Fountain Avenue crew has links and is seen in other parts of the city, including Temple and Vinewood. Insiders of the crew and associates are reported to have links to a variety of European countries, including; Serbia, Sweden, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Russia.
Vinewood — the beginning of a new era?
Due to inevitable indictments, the crew was bound to crumble but managed to stay alive and fight through the epidemic that haunted them. It is said to have links in Turkey, Pakistan, and Mexico, where most of their prominent product comes from. Although it is unknown how these relations were established, it is rumored to be due to the globalization of the world's economies and the great advances in communications technology. Easier international travel, expanded world trade, and financial transactions that cross national borders have enabled them to branch out of local and regional crime to target international victims and develop criminal networks within more prosperous countries and regions.