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News 16 Nov 12

Albanian Police Haul Major Drug Shipment

Police have arrested five suspects, including an anti-narcotics police officer, on Thursday and seized 27.7 kilograms of heroin, weapons and explosives.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana
Sequestered heroin  | Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Interior

“This was a well structured criminal organization,” it is said in a statement from the Albanian Ministry of Interior.

The three-month long investigation headed by a task force from the state prosecutor’s office encompassed three cities. 

The suspects were arrested as they were moving the drugs.

Alongside the drugs, police also found 0.8 kilogram of C4 explosive, detonators, a pistol and rounds of ammunition.

Thursday’s drug bust is the largest shipment of heroin seized by local police in the last three years.

The Balkans remain a preferred trafficking route for Afghan heroin, smuggled to Western Europe. Organized crime gangs in Albania have long cooperated with the Turkish mafia and the Italian Sacra Corona Unita to smuggle heroin across the Otranto channel, in the Adriatic Sea, to Italy.

Another preferred route into the EU zone has been through border crossings with Greece in Southern Albania.   

 

 

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