Today, the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Croatian Ministry of the Interior (MOI) that increases cooperation to combat the illicit trafficking of drugs across Southeast Europe. Assistant Director General of Police Antonio Gerovac joined the U.S. Embassy’s acting Deputy Chief of Mission Caitlin Piper and DEA Attaché Kevin Fejeran for the signing ceremony at the General Police Directorate of the Republic of Croatia.
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Mark Fleming said, “The U.S.-Croatia partnership is strong, dynamic, and growing. This new agreement builds upon our great success working with MOI on Croatia’s Visa Waiver Program accession. The Ministry of Interior remains a close partner in advancing shared goals, and with the signing of today’s agreement we will push forward together in effective U.S.-Croatia teamwork against drug trafficking and transnational crime. We appreciate Croatia’s leadership on tackling these issues in the broader region,” added Chargé Fleming.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Affairs Davor Božinović said, “After the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the Visa Waiver Program, the Memorandum is another result of intensive cooperation with our American partners as well as confirmation that the United States sees Croatia alongside other countries which meet the highest security standards. The strengthening of cooperation in the area of security with the United States is a continuous process and the result of mutual trust built over the past three decades, which is becoming more important today when we are aware that almost all challenges are more or less cross-border issues and are transnational and increasingly transcontinental in nature. The establishment of the DEA Regional Office in Zagreb in 2016 was recognition for the Republic of Croatia and additionally confirmed the status and efforts of Croatian police in the combat against drug-related crimes, especially in cracking down on criminal groups of the so-called Balkan Cartel, where we have already achieved significant results and successes with our American partners.”
The MOI-DEA Memorandum of Understanding addresses a range of coordination tools, from technology and exchange of research information to rendering mutual assistance while conducting operations against drug trafficking and close communication in the prosecution of drug traffickers. “This agreement will amplify our joint ability to combat the illicit trafficking of drugs as well as other forms of transnational crimes associated with drug trafficking, and we will enhance U.S.-Croatia engagement in bilateral law enforcement activity, which further strengthens professional and police ties between our countries,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Piper. U.S. contributions to Croatian law enforcement partners add to 4.5 billion Kuna in U.S. security support invested in Croatia in just the last decade, for both civilian and military projects.