Joe Bruno on the Mob – Vancouver Thug Murdered 16 Years After He Became a Government Informant
It took 16 years for Kosto Barjaktarovic to be dealt with after he ratted on his pals in the Vancouver underworld. In July, Kosto as he was called (his last name was too hard to pronounce), was identified as the murder victim who was rubbed out in Ontario. Yet, there is a distinct possibility that Kosto was killed for entirely different reasons than for becoming an informer.
In 1995, Kosto was a key witness is the trial of the late Bindy Johal for the killing of brothers Ron and Jimmy Dosanjh. In that trial, that also included five of Johal’s croneys, Kosto said he stole a black Mustang used by Johal and others to kill Jim Dosanjh on Feb. 25, 1994. Kosto also told police he stole another vehicle used to follow Ron Dosanjh before he was gunned down on April 18, 1994. And Kosto also said he gave a rifle and cash from Johal to others involved in the plot in between the two murders.
Shockingly, despite Kosto’s testimony, Johal and his associates were found not guilty. Later it was discovered that one of the female jurors had been sleeping with Johal. The verdict hardly mattered, since in 1998, Johal was a murder victim himself.
Retired Vancouver police Det. Rick Crook was the policeman in charge who got Kosto to flip in 1995.”We tried very hard to get something started investigatively,” Crook said of the Dosanjh murders. “One of the things we could do with Kosto is prove he stole the vehicle used to kill Jimmy. We used that as leverage to say to him, ‘You are an accessory.'”
Kosto faced with the evidence he was an accomplice in two murders, agreed to testify against Johal.
“He did it to save his own ass,” Crook said.
After the Johal trial, Kosto went into the witness protection program under the name Alexander Kucovic. But instead of avoiding his old evil ways, Kosto almost immediately got in trouble with the law again. In March 1996, Kosto was charged in London, Ont. with trafficking cocaine and possessing a prohibited assault rifle and a restricted handgun. He got 2 ½ years in the slammer for that. In February 2006, Kosto was convicted in Vancouver of assault causing bodily harm. He got a nine-month conditional sentence.
Right now the Vancouver police are working with the York police to solve Kosto’s murder. York Regional Police Det. Al Almeida said, “At this stage, we have not identified a suspect or a clear motive for this crime. We do believe that the homicide was targeted. It wasn’t just a random shooting. We have been in contact with our counterparts out in B.C., and it is an ongoing investigation. It is complex as you can imagine with the background of Mr. Kucovic. And we are still appealing for information and witnesses.”
It’s my guess that this will be an unsolved murder, unless by chance, the police arrest someone for an entirely different crime, and that person, in order to save his own hide, gives up Kosto’s murderer, and the reasons for Kosto’s murder.
In the majority of cases like this, it’s a rat coming out of the woodwork who is the key to an arrest and a conviction. We’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome will be.
You can see the article below at the following link:
Witness protection program couldn’t save B.C. informant
Man who testified against gang members was killed in Ontario in July; police are looking for Vancouver connections
By Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun October 29, 2011
Kosto Barjaktarovic was once a highflying Vancouver car thief who admitted his role in two gangland slayings at the trial of the late Bindy Johal.
Sixteen years later, it is Barjaktarovic’s murder that police in Ontario are actively investigating.
The Vancouver Sun has learned that a murder victim identified by York Regional Police last July as Alexander Kucovic was really Barjaktarovic, a Johal associate turned Crown witness at one of the most sensational murder trials in B.C. history.
Now police are probing whether Barjaktarovic’s testimony in 1995 or his more recent gang affiliations had anything to do with his execution outside his palatial Vaughan, Ont. home on a warm summer evening.
Although Barjaktarovic left B.C. in the witness protection program and changed his name to Alexander Kucovic, he couldn’t change his lifestyle, retired Vancouver police Det. Rick Crook said this week.
“He had a hard time pulling away from some associates,” said Crook, a veteran homicide detective who investigated Johal. “Given the company he was keeping and his lifestyle, he had his own enemies.”
Barjaktarovic was called Kosto in B.C. Supreme Court when he testified against Johal and five co-accused for the murders of gangster brothers Ron and Jimmy Dosanjh. His last name was too hard to pronounce.
Kosto admitted on the stand he told Johal the Dosanjh brothers had a contract out on him. He admitted he stole a black Mustang used by Johal and others to kill Jim Dosanjh on Feb. 25, 1994 in a laneway off Fraser. Kosto also told police he stole another vehicle used to follow Ron Dosanjh before he was gunned down on Kingsway on April 18, 1994. And he said he passed along a rifle and cash from Johal to others involved in the plot in between the two murders.
Crook said he really worked to convince Kosto to cooperate.
“We tried very hard to get something started investigatively,” Crook said of the Dosanjh murders. “One of the things we could do with Kosto is prove he stole the vehicle used to kill Jimmy. We used that as leverage to say to him, ‘You are an accessory.'”
And Kosto rolled.
“He did it to save his own ass,” Crook said.
After eight months, a jury acquitted Johal and the others.
Johal was gunned down in December 1998 – “too soon” for worshippers to realize what a ruthless, violent thug he really was, said Crook.
Crook was devastated at the trial result, especially when some of the evidence was ruled inadmissible and never heard by the jury.
“It was probably one of the worst moments in my career,” Crook said. “It was almost crippling.”
Kosto carried on as Kucovic in Ontario until his own violent demise last July 2 about 10: 30 p.m.
York Regional Police Det. Al Almeida said this week that investigators have been working with police here to find out who killed the 37-year-old.
“At this stage, we have not identified a suspect or a clear motive for this crime. We do believe that the homicide was targeted. It wasn’t just a random shooting,” Almeida said. “We have been in contact with our counterparts out in B.C., and it is an ongoing investigation. It is complex as you can imagine with the background of Mr. Kucovic. And we are still appealing for information and witnesses.”
Just this week, a Toronto police officer named Const. Daniel Costa appeared in court on a perjury charge, laid after he allegedly lied to detectives working the murder about his brother Michael’s whereabouts after the slaying. Costa has been suspended with pay.
Almeida said Michael Costa “is someone we want to speak to. In the general definition, that would make him a person of interest until we speak to him.” He is believed to be out of the country.
Almeida said that within hours of the shooting, investigators knew Kucovic was really Kosto and of his link to gangsters in both provinces.
In Vaughan, where he was dad to a young child although estranged from his wife, Kosto passed himself off as the wealthy owner of a jewelry business. Almeida said investigators have now learned Kosto didn’t own the business at all.
With a fleet of luxury cars and an expensive home in a tony neighbourhood, Kosto was living beyond his documented means, Almeida said.
Despite being given the opportunity to start fresh after the Johal trial, Kosto was in trouble with the law almost right away.
In March 1996, he was charged in London, Ont. with trafficking cocaine and possessing a prohibited assault rifle and a restricted handgun.
Police had a tip that Kosto and friends were moving cocaine from Vancouver to Ontario. Investigators found a suitcase shipped to Kosto at a bus station. It contained 1,126 grams of cocaine.
At his sentencing, his lawyer said Kosto had worked steadily as a bouncer and at a tanning salon since moving from B.C. He stressed the young man had no criminal record.
Kosto was handed two and a half years.
He continued to visit his family in B.C., and was convicted in Vancouver of assault causing bodily harm in February 2006. He got a nine-month conditional sentence.
Back in the days of Bindy Johal, both Kosto and his brother Miljan, who died in December 2006, were wellknown to Vancouver police for their love of stolen cars and police chases, Crook said.
“They used to get a lot of joy in engaging the Vancouver police department in high-speed car chases around the city,” Crook said.
When they lost police in these chases, the brothers would doubleback, wanting to play cat and mouse some more, he said.
When criminals like Johal wanted stolen vehicles, they went to Kosto.
“That’s how Kosto was used by the Johal group,” Crook said.
If events had unfolded differently in B.C., Crook has no doubt that Kosto would have moved up the gangland ranks in this province.
But back then, he was a bit player, Crook said. “He was truly at that age and stage just a wannabe.”
And while he lived his last years as Alexander Nicholas Kucovic, his Burnaby family mourned him as Kosto Barjaktarovic.
“He was the best father, and the best son, very [caring] for his family, friends and good neighbours,” his obituary in The Sun read. “He can always be relied upon. He has an extremely loving heart for his family in Canada, and back home in Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia.”