Darko Savic is hiding out in Gauteng.

The head of a Balkan cocaine and crime syndicate is hiding out in South Africa under the protection of local gang bosses, underworld sources reveal.

Fugitive Darko Savic – one of the world’s most wanted drug smugglers – is living under a different alias here, right under the noses of the authorities.

And local crime bosses are helping him avoid detection by using their network of corrupt cop contacts.

The revelation comes after the Daily Voice last week revealed how Serbian hitman Dobrosav Gavric lived in the Mother City for three years under the protection of slain crime boss Cyril Beeka.

Beeka’s murder lifted the lid on the shadowy links between international crime syndicates and local mobsters.

Today in an exclusive interview with the Daily Voice, a veteran former gangster turned whistle-blower confirms long-suspected links between SA crime gangs and Serbian drug lords.

And he provides a chilling insight into a series of high-profile murders – including Beeka’s killing in March last year.

In an interview with the Daily Voice, the terrified ex-dik ding reveals how:

n He is now on the run and fears for his life after his mob bosses turned against him;

n Someone “very near” to Cyril Beeka would have murdered him if the other attempt on his life failed;

n Hitmen use their cop contacts to confirm the identities of targets before having them whacked;

n International fugitive Darko Savic is hiding out in Gauteng with the help of local crime bosses.

Savic has been linked to Czech criminal Radovan Krejcir, 42, a convicted fraudster who is also being investigated for Beeka’s murder.

Krejcir was friends with both Beeka and Gavric, but it is understood he fell out with Beeka over a business deal.

When the Hawks raided Krejcir’s Gauteng home after Beeka’s assassination in March last year, they found a “hit list” with Beeka’s name on it.

At one stage Gavric – who was seriously injured in the shooting – was rumoured to also be a suspect in the hit.

But in a sworn affidavit obtained by the Daily Voice, Gavric insists he was close friends with Beeka and that he is prepared to act as a future witness for the State.

The hitman is wanted in Serbia where he was convicted for the murders of notorious warlord Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic and two others.

Gavric will on Monday find out if his bail application is successful when he appears before Cape Town Magistrates’ Court.

In an interview with the Daily Voice from his hideaway in George, Eastern Cape, the whistle-blower who identifies himself only as “Uncle Sam”, says Gavric is not the only wanted Serbian using this country to escape justice.

“Serbian drug lord Darko Savic is hiding in Gauteng and protected by [local] underworld bosses,” he says.

Uncle Sam, 65, also gave a detailed insider’s account of Beeka’s execution: “If the assassination had failed to eliminate Beeka, then someone else very near to him would have carried out the murder on that very same day.”

He was also able to provide exact details about the cold-blooded murder of Yuri “The Russian” Ulianitski who was gunned down outside a restaurant in May 2007.

“A half-hour before Yuri left the restaurant, a prominent businessman linked to the mob called the hitmen and told them that Yuri will be approaching the intersection of Otto du Plessis Drive and Loxton Road just before 10.30pm,” Uncle Sam says.

Ulianitski was indirectly linked with Jerome Booysen, the alleged leader of the Sexy Boys who was last week named in court as a suspect in Beeka’s murder.

“The Russian” had dealings with Beeka, but they too later had a fall-out – both were killed in similar shootings.

Uncle Sam is himself currently on the run after he fell foul of his mob bosses who were indirectly linked to the Beeka killing and the Serbian fugitives hiding out here.

He also counts convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti as a contact.

During our interview, he gave our reporter a phone number which he said was that of Agliotti. When we rang the number, a male voice confirmed he was Agliotti before asking to be handed back to Uncle Sam.

The whistle-blower admits he ran a car fraud scheme that turned sour when the syndicate chiefs failed to pay his R790 000 fee for buying 30 luxury cars in his name.

But he has kept a detailed diary of his criminal activities and those of his former mob colleagues.

And he has threatened to use the 116-page hand-written diary to put them behind bars if they come after him.

“I’ve got nothing to lose,” he says.

“I need to warn the public that the mafia is running the country with the help of cops and top politicians and that they have ruthless killers who will take out anyone who threatens them.”

* This article was published in the Daily Voice