World News

Police arrest suspected Polish drug gang boss linked to Krakow soccer ultras

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A Polish woman suspected of being the head of a Polish drug trafficking group based in Krakow was arrested in Slovakia on Friday after a joint operation by Polish, Hungarian and Slovakian security forces, Hungarian police said on Sunday.

The 32-year-old woman had been under an Interpol arrest warrant. She had escaped to Slovakia from Budapest in the boot of a car after her hiding place in the Hungarian capital had been identified by police last week, police said.

After taking control of the group in 2017, the woman reorganized the gang by recruiting members of the KS Cracovia soccer team’s extremist fans to engage in international drug trafficking, according to a police statement.

Slovakian authorities must now decide whether to extradite the woman to Poland, but her lawyer said recent judiciary reforms had undermined the fairness of the Polish court system.

“In current circumstances handing (the woman) over to Polish law enforcement authorities would be tantamount to handing her over to wild cannibals,” Maciej Burda told private broadcaster TVN24.

No one at Poland’s Justice Ministry or Cracovia soccer club was immediately available to comment.

Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s eurosceptic, nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has introduced a series of judicial reforms that EU officials and democracy activists say may breach the bloc’s standards on the rule of law.

Reporting by Anita Komuves; additional reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Marcin Goclowski, editing by Ros Russell