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"Albanian drugs are arriving in Italy thanks to politics", HuffPost echoes drug trafficking: "Land of Eagles" must face corruption, the most representative case is that of Saimir Tahir
Written by SOT.COM.AL 4 Dhjetor 2023
HuffPost Italia has dedicated an article to drug trafficking from Albania to the Apennine country, recalling the cases of the former Minister of the Interior Saimir Tahiri, but also that of the trafficker Klement Balili.
In its article, the Italian media states that most of the Albanian drugs are arriving in Italy thanks to connections and political interference and that no one is stopping this phenomenon.
Analyzing the relations between Albanian and Italian organized crime in relation to drug trafficking and relations with politics, a disturbing fact emerges. Thanks to these connections, a large part of Albanian drugs arrives in Italy. This is proven by the ever-increasing confiscations of narcotics. There are still open air cannabis plantations in Albania. Albanian drugs arrive in Italy via the shores of the Adriatic, a part remains in Italy and the rest goes to many member countries of the European Union writes HuffPost Italia.
The geographical position between Italy and Albania has facilitated over the years the development of direct channels between Italian and Albanian criminal groups, with special reference to the supply, storage and trade of narcotic substances. There have always been constant contacts between Albanian criminal groups with branches in Italy and Apulian criminal groups, referring especially to those operating in the Foggia area, in the Bari area and in the Salento area with branches in Albanian territory as well.
It is true that in Albania there is a connection between drug traffickers and politics. Unfortunately, the Land of Eagles has to deal with the high level of corruption present. This has happened with both right-wing and left-wing governments. The most representative case of the relationship between corrupt politics and organized crime is the sentencing of former Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri to five years in prison by the Court of Appeal of Tirana. Tahiri was the Minister of the Interior in Albania in the second Rama government, from 2013 to 2017, when he was forced to leave office due to accusations of involvement in drug trafficking, the Italian media further writes.
Connections also exist with Italian mafiosi. The numerous investigations start from the investigation by the Guardia di Finanza of Catania, with the operation called "Rosa dei Venti", which dismantled an Italian-Albanian criminal network accused of importing tons of cannabis from Albania to Italy for over 20 million. euros. Since then, in 2018, until today, the seizures of narcotics from Albania in Italy have multiplied exponentially.
In 2023 in Brescia a major seizure worth over 3 million euros dealt a heavy blow to an Italian-Albanian criminal organization importing drugs into Italy. In Treviso, a total of 420 kilograms of drugs with a retail value estimated at over 34 million euros were seized. In Rome, mostly Albanian drugs circulate and "Albanian" cartels prevail.
There are also some Albanian drug traffickers with connections in Italy. Moisi and Florian Habilaj, considered leaders of the Vlora cartel and already known to the Italian judicial and police authorities, recalls HuffPost. The Habilaj brothers trafficked drugs to Italy and Greece. The secret agreement between politics and traffickers also included Italy.
To understand the involvement of politics, we can take as an example the case of Klement Balili, arrested for international drug trafficking already in 2006. Owner of numerous luxury hotels on the Albanian coast, he was entrusted with transportation in the Saranda region in 2014, even though he he was wanted because an international arrest warrant had been issued against him. Today he is convicted after he surrendered to Albanian justice in exchange for a large reduction in the years of imprisonment.
Profits from drug trafficking and trade are huge and drug money is also attractive to politicians. In Albania, political parties and electoral campaigns are often financed with income from drug trafficking. Organized crime, politics and the economy are often interconnected in a complex web of common interests and a series of mutual benefits, the article points out.
As it happened in Italy, also in Albania, the most important criminal organizations have managed to enter politics, economy, finance, media and social and cultural activities. They control the territory, create welfare, produce investments and also actively influence Albanian politics. The Albanian government must implement serious legislative changes in the near future, starting with the Code of Criminal and Criminal Procedure, to strengthen repressive measures against members of mafia organizations. The model to inspire is definitely that of the fight against the Italian mafia.
It will therefore be necessary to strengthen prison security; the fight against organized crime and its connections with politics and the economic world; fight corruption effectively; to use total isolation of dangerous prisoners to prevent their external communication with criminal organizations; and to confiscate the assets of the mafia. Another of the problems that Albania will face is its judicial system, which must be reformed and improved, protecting it above all from corruption and political interventions that undermine its credibility and effectiveness, the Italian media concludes.