NEWS IN SHORT

Anti-drug unit chief steps down

THE NATIONAL anti-drug unit is to get a new boss. Its current head, Marián Pecko, is to leave the unit on May 1 at his own request, according to the Sme daily. But he will remain with the police, serving in the office fighting organised crime.

THE NATIONAL anti-drug unit is to get a new boss. Its current head, Marián Pecko, is to leave the unit on May 1 at his own request, according to the Sme daily. But he will remain with the police, serving in the office fighting organised crime.

Last year, the media reported that Pecko, together with ten members of his team, had been charged with extortion. Despite the fact that Pecko confessed to having committed the crime, he was found not guilty. In court he claimed he had made the confession under duress. Just one of his team members was sentenced.

After these facts were published, Police President Ján Packa and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák defended Pecko. Pecko himself filed a suit against the media for leaking information; he was particularly angered by the publication of his photo. Police inspectors questioned some of the journalists concerned but refused to pursue the case.

Last October, the news website Aktualne.sk reported that after Pecko assumed his position, the productivity of the national anti-drug unit decreased by 50 percent. Between April 23 and October 17, 2006, it had conducted 12 operations and begun prosecuting 31 people. In the same period during 2007, it conducted seven operations, and prosecuted 15 people.

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