38 Albanians arrested in Italian drug trafficking investigation – CBS17.com
TIRANA, Albania (AP) – Some 38 Albanian nationals, including a prosecutor, a head of government department and three senior police officers, have been arrested on charges of drug trafficking, corruption, post abuse and money laundering. Albanian authorities announced on Friday.
The Albanian Special Structure Against Corruption and Organized Crime, or SPAK, said Italy’s two-year investigation showed that the suspects operating in Albania, Italy, Montenegro and Spain were part of four international criminal groups mainly involved in drug trafficking.
Twenty-eight of the suspects – including two bodyguards who worked for a former Albanian interior minister – were arrested in Albania.
Since 2016, police in these countries have seized some 6 tonnes of cannabis, cocaine and other drugs estimated at 55 million euros ($ 65 million).
“Public officials, in some cases themselves drug owners, had guaranteed that drugs intended for the (Italian region of) Puglia would arrive there safely by land or sea,” the statement said.
Authorities reportedly confiscate millions of euros in assets from suspects, including apartments, land, restaurants and other businesses.
Albania was once a major European producer of marijuana and a hub for its smuggling. A government crackdown seven years ago led to a significant reduction in the number of cannabis plantations, but regular seizures indicate that traffickers are still seeking other places to grow or store marijuana and are now part of international networks of cannabis. other hard drugs.