US sanctions Bosnian super-cartel drugs boss over ‘close links’ to Kinahan gang

Edin Gačanin was described as "one of the world’s most prolific drug traffickers” in the announcement by the US Treasury.

Edin Gacinin

Edin Gacanin, the boss of the 'Tito and Dino' cartel

Daniel Kinahan

Ridouan Taghi

Anthony Alfredo Martínez Meza

Niall DonaldSunday World

One of the leaders of Europe’s super-cartel was last night formally placed on a sanctions list by the US government – who cited his ties to the Kinahan Cartel.

Edin Gačanin was described as "one of the world’s most prolific drug traffickers” in the announcement by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Bosnian mob boss Gačanin is the head of a Bosnian-Dutch gang – known as the Tito and Dino cartel – who are involved in smuggling cocaine from South America into Europe.

He is a close ally of Daniel Kinahan and was a guest at the Irish Mafia chief’s wedding in Dubai in 2017.

The two traffickers are both key figures in Europe’s super-cartel – a grouping of criminals who control a large part of the cocaine trade across the continent.

The sanctions placed on Gačanin by OFAC mean he will now be placed on a US blacklist and will not be able to do any business in the US or with American firms.

Last year, the leaders of the Kinahan Cartel were added to the sanctions list and a $5 million reward for information that would lead to convictions..

In a statement, the US government last night cited Gacanin’s ties to the Kinahan Organized Crime Group.

"Edin Gačanin (Gacanin) is one of the world’s most prolific drug traffickers.

“A native of Sarajevo, Gačanin is the leader of the Tito and Dino Cartel, which includes his family members and his friends from BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

"In addition to narcotics trafficking efforts across multiple countries, Gacanin’s cartel is involved in money laundering and is closely linked to the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, a Transnational Criminal Organization previously designated by OFAC pursuant to E.O. 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863, for its role as a significant transnational criminal organization.”

Daniel Kinahan

It adds: “OFAC today is designating Gačanin pursuant to E.O. 14059 for having engaged in, or having attempted to engage in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.

“Today’s sanctions against Gačanin were coordinated closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), and the governments of The Netherlands, France, and Belgium.”

Edin Gačanin was arrested in Dubai last November as part of an international crack-down on the ‘super-cartel’.

His arrest was one of 49 in a multi-national police operation announced by Europol against the gang.

But just two months after his arrest was hailed by Europol, Gačanin was freed on bail despite attempts by the authorities in The Netherlands to have him extradited.

Edin Gacanin, the boss of the 'Tito and Dino' cartel

A spokesman for the Dutch Public Prosecution Service denied any mistake were made on their part and the extradition papers were sent on time.

A Dutch spokesperson told the news outlet they are working on trying to find out what went wrong with the process but admitted they no longer know where Gačanin since his release on 29 December.

"We know the stories about the documents being submitted too late. That is not true. We are working to find out what exactly is the cause."

He added: “We don’t know where the two suspects are now. We have no information about their whereabouts and their possibilities to cross the border,”

A lawyer for Gačanin told the news website ‘’ he was released “according to legal regulations” and is still waiting on the extradition process.

The super-cartel, in which the Kinahans play a key role, are suspected of importing at least a third of the cocaine that arrives in Europe.

Details of November’s police operation were announced by Europol and took place some weeks earlier involving four EU countries along with the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Among the six arrests in Dubai were two men believed to key members of the Kinahan Cartel, Panamanian citizen Anthony Alfredo Martínez Meza and British national Ryan James Hale.

Anthony Alfredo Martínez Meza

They are wanted in Spain where police say their group managed to ship 10 tons of cocaine worth €760 million through the country in just two years.

Martínez is suspected of being the connection who arranged to get Colombian cocaine shipped into Europe.

It is claimed Martinez – who used the alias ‘Hassan’ in encrypted phone messages – struck a deal with Daniel Kinahan in 2017 after the arrest of Peruvian drugs lord Ricardo ‘El Rico’ Riquelme.

Other members of the super cartel arrested in Dubai have previously been extradited without a hitch.

These include Raffaele Imperiale, now offering to become a Sate witness as he faces serious criminal charges in Italy.

Ridouan Taghi

Also arrested in Dubai was Ridouan Taghi, now on trial in The Netherlands for ordering murders as the head of a drugs gang.

Last year, US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin, said that sanctions levied against the Kinahan Cartel mean that the gang will be held accountable for their actions.

Cronin appeared at a press conference in Dublin alongside gardai, Europol, the UK National Crime Agency and US Government officials last April when sanctions against the gang were announced.

At the briefing, she also announced the reward for key information leading to the Kinahan gang being dismantled.

She told the media that the US Department of State is offering a reward for information "leading to the financial disruption" of the Kinahan transnational group, or the arrest and conviction of its leaders.

The three leaders of the gang are named by the authorities as Daniel Kinahan, who runs the day-to-day operations, his father Christy Kinahan Snr who organises property purchases, and Christy Kinahan Jnr who oversees their finances.

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