Only a few days after EU Ambassador Romana Vlahutin lavished praise on the Albanian police for its recent track record in fighting drug trafficking an organized crime, the Italian Central Directorate for Anti-Drugs Services of the Ministry of Interior Affairs released its annual report, which fully demolishes any factual basis for such praise.
In fact, according to the Italian Police, 2017 has proven to be a “historical” year:
In recent years, in Italy, marijuana imports have recorded a significant surge, with a historical record of seizures (over 90 tons) in 2017. The trend of kidnappings in our country is linked to the cultivation of cannabis in Albania, the region where most of the quantities destined for the Italian and European market come from, as also demonstrated during the largest unit seizure, carried out in the Marche last year , equal to 8 tons of marijuana directed to Northern Europe. The Albanian clans, however, have shown growing capacity to manage crops and traffic, using seeds capable of producing plants with a high THC content as well as methods of concealment of plantations and transportation of the narcotic to the Italian coast in constant evolution.
Albania, and partly some Western Balkan countries, constitute a substantial source of supply for the European market.
All of this in spite of Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj’s claims of a “historical” and decisive eradication of cannabis in Albania in 2017. Recently, it has come out that Xhafaj’s brother Agron (Geron) Xhafaj continued drug trafficking in Albania, despite a conviction in Italy, while his brother was controlled the State Police.
Furthermore, the report states that a substantial part of the cocaine traffic to Italy runs through Albania:
A progressive increase in transits of quantities of this substance [cocaine] cannot be ruled out, especially in the north/north-eastern border areas due to the increasingly important role played by Serbian-Montenegrin and Balkan criminality in general, in the dynamics of international traffic of this drug. The consignments of cocaine that reach the Balkan area by sea are then introduced into the traffic flow of other substances (primarily heroin) which, through the route of the same name, partly reach the coast of Albania, to continue by sea towards the Italian ports, and partly continue by land, to be placed in various European markets or continue to Italy through the crossings of the eastern area.