SHORTLY after the change of leadership within the Slovak Police Corps, an alleged mob boss who has been on the run for six years was arrested. Karol Mello, thought to be a mafia boss from the Upper Nitra region, was detained in Krakow, Poland and is soon to be transferred to Slovakia where he will go before the court. Police President Jaroslav Spišiak claimed that Mello was apprehended due to recent personnel changes in the police corps.
A Polish SWAT unit broke into a house on October 27 in the city of Krakow in southern Poland where Mello was living with his partner, a well-known Slovak actress, and their son. Spišiak said Mello gave no resistance as he was apparently surprised by the police action. At a press conference on October 28 Spišiak said that only after he had replaced some junior police officials in the Slovak Police Corps had Mello been detained.
“Only after replacing key officials in the police, mostly in the department fighting organised crime, did we succeed in an intensive and targeted way to adopt measures that led to the arrest of this person in a short time,” Spišiak said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
Mello is reportedly one of the most dangerous and most wanted members of the Slovak underworld. He has been accused of ordering the murder of a businessman from Most pri Bratislave in 2004. However, the gunman shot and killed the businessman’s partner and their small son while firing at the businessman’s car. Following the shooting, Mello fled abroad.
In 2006 an international warrant for Mello’s arrest was issued but he had never been detained, even after the Slovak weekly Plus 7 Dní published pictures in August 2007 of Mello, his partner and their child in Alicante, Spain.
At that time, media speculated that Mello had the status of protected testimony in processes against other mob bosses, the Sme daily reported.
Spišiak did not confirm whether Mello had protected testimony status and said that the reason Mello was not detained earlier might have been because he was hiding very effectively and using many different IDs. When the police arrested him in the house in Krakow they found several IDs and fifteen different mobile phones, Sme wrote.
Mello is presently in custody in Poland and is expected to be transferred to Bratislava in early December. According to Sme, Slovak prosecutors have 40 days to file a request for Mello’s extradition.
“The communication will be happening directly between the justice bodies, in this case it is the district prosecutor’s office in Krakow and the district court in Bratislava I which had issued the European warrant for arrest,” Justice Ministry spokesperson Peter Bubla told Sme.
If the extradition process goes smoothly without complications, Mello may soon be standing in front of the court for trial. The court has already set a date of December 6 for the first hearing.
VIDEO: Detention of Karol Mello in Krakow
2. Nov 2010 at 14:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff