Albania’s Special Prosecution (SPAK) announced the conclusion of a joint operation with Bergamo prosecutors in Italy, resulting in the seizure of large quantities of drugs in Italy.
According to the special prosecutor, the criminal gang responsible for the drug trafficking was led by three Albanians. A further twenty individuals face trial as part of the criminal group.
The gang’s activities were carried out in Italy and Albania, particularly in the Albanian port city of Durres. The port of Durres is a well-known hot spot for cocaine trafficking.
Investigators believe the criminal activity commenced in 2015.
As a result of the joint operation, authorities seized 120 kilograms of cocaine, 15 kilograms of pure heroin, as well as 129 kilograms of marijuana and 92 kilograms of hashish in different raids in Italy.
“The criminal activity of this group developed from 2015 onwards and developed in Albania, mainly in Durrës, as well as in various cities in Italy, such as Bergamo, Brescia, Milan, Turin, etc., places where the transportation and the trade in narcotics were carried out,” read a press statement released by SPAK on Thursday.
“The necessary evidence has been collected from the joint investigations, which creates a reasonable suspicion that this criminal group was created and directed by three Albanian citizens (B.L, G.B and E.M), who coordinated actions between them for the management of the criminal group,” the statement continued.
Major drug seizures are a common occurrence in Albania. At the port of Durres, police have seized large quantities of cocaine several times over the past few years.
In November last year, for example, Albanian authorities announced the seizure of 430 kilograms of cocaine as part of a joint operation with Montenegrin authorities. In June last year, a further 45.5 kilogram of cocaine was seized from a shipping container at Durres port.
In June 2021, some 300 kilograms of cocaine was seized from a truck entering the country from North Macedonia. In 2019, some 200 kilograms of cocaine was seized during the arrest of 17 Albanian gang members in Rome, as part of an illegal trafficking operation using specially modified cars.
In 2018, Albanian police found more than 613 kilograms of heroin hidden in a shipping container coming from Colombia. The drugs were hidden in the floor of a banana shipping container with a double bottom, and were in transit to Malta and Italy.
Image via Pixabay