Drug Laboratories – How Did Cannabis Turn into an Industry?

During the weekend, three modern drug cultivation and packaging laboratories were discovered in Tirana, Fier, and Skrapar.

  • On April 15 a drug laboratory was discovered in Fier in a building. In 6 rooms with a total surface of 220 sq.m., 2784 cannabis plants and 2820 pots with saplings were found. Additionally, 167 plants were found in the process of drying.
  • On April 14, a drug laboratory was discovered 5 km from the center of Tirana in one of the tunnels of the former Tractor Factory. Within the tunnel, isolated and outfitted with strong electric lamps and all the necessary infrastructure, a considerable amount of planted cannabis was found.
  • On April 12, a drug laboratory for the processing of cannabis was discovered in Skrapar, including around 2000 pots wit cannabis plants. A few days earlier, a magazine with 1.2 dried, market-ready cannabis plants was found nearby.

Judging from the discovery of the three laboratories, it appears that drug cultivation and trafficking has turned into a veritable industry.

Drug trafficking groups invest considerable sums of money in order to furnish large indoor space with strong electric lamps and devices that are necessary for the maintenance, drying, and packaging of cannabis, as well the necessary work force.

This exceedingly profitable industry cannot function and develop without, in the worst case, the collaboration of state institutions or, at best, their tolerance and silence. It shows that the criminal groups dealing with drugs have captured the state institutions and that the battle against cannabis needs to involve attacking the links between organized crime and the police.

Prime Minister Edi Rama and former Minister of Interior Affairs Saimir Tahiri have consistently denied the phenomenon of “cannabization” of the country. But the recent actions have uncovered gigantic laboratories which appear to contradict Rama’s and Tahiri’s claims that they “are creating a state” and that “the country has not been cannabized.”

The discoveries, one after the other, of cannabis laboratories only strengthen the continuous denunciations of the opposition and international reports.