Cleveland-area man charged with immigration fraud after allegedly attempting to cover role in Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict

CLEVELAND — A Barberton, Ohio, man was indicted for immigration fraud Thursday for failing to disclose his participation in the Srebenica massacre in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The charges resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).

Oliver Dragic, 41, was named in the three-count indictment, charged with one count of possession of a fraudulently obtained green card, attempt to procure naturalization contrary to law and attempt to procure naturalization to which he was not entitled.

“The investigation, prosecution, and ultimate removal of individuals like Dragic are paramount to the mission of Homeland Security Investigations and to the safety our communities,” Marlon Miller, sspecial agent in ccharge of HSI’s Detroit office said.  “The United States is not a safe haven for war criminals.”

The indictment alleges Dragic failed to disclose his paramilitary police service for the Republika Srpska, a rogue state unrecognized by the international community that attempted to create an ethnically pure Serbian nation within the ethnically-mixed territory of the Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Dragic completed police training in Serbia in 1994 and returned to Bosnia, where he voluntarily joined a special police unit that joined in Republika Srpska’s army during military operations, according to the indictment.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to contact HSI by calling the toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.  They can also email HRV.ICE@ice.dhs.gov or complete ICE’s online tip form.

Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 375 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders for and physically removed more than 815 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States.

Currently, HSI has more than 140 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,700 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 97 different countries. Over the last four years, the HRVWCC has issued more than 70,000 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped 194 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the United States.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum.  In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Cronin is prosecuting the case following an investigation by HSI Special Agent Brett Bangas and ICE Historian Michael MacQueen.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: ICE