Prosecutors of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office (SPAK) have demanded prison terms for the four members of the Habilaj drug trafficking gang, members of which were investigated for ties to former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri.
SPAK requested 18 years in prison for Moisi Habilaj, the leader of the criminal group, and 15 years for each of the three other gang members: Meridian Sulaj, Fatmir Minaj and Nazer Seiti.
In addition, the seizure of Habilaj family’s assets was requested, including 12 apartments and land parcels.
In June 2020, an Albanian court sentenced another member of the gang, Armand Kacorri, to 10 years in prison.
Moisi Habilaj, a relative of former Minister Tahiri, and Meridian Sulaj were arrested in Catania, Italy on October 16, 2017, on suspicions of having trafficked more than 3.5 tons of cannabis, as well as firearms and ammunition from Albania in the recent years.
Italian prosecutors investigated the minister of the first government led by Prime Minister Edi Rama for ties to the criminal gang and for facilitating their drug trafficking operations but no charges were raised against him in Italy.
Three days after the arrests in Italy, gang member Nezar Seiti was arrested in Albania. Police found 4.5 tons of cannabis in his home. Despite pending charges in Albania, he was extradited to Italy in violation of Albanian law.
In June 2019, the Italian Court of Catania sentenced Moisi Habilaj to 15 years in prison, Nazer Seiti and Meridian Sulaj to 8 years in prison each.
However, in January 2021, Moisi Habilaj escaped house arrest in Italy.