The Albanian Minister of the Interior, Bledi Cuci has announced that 1 tonne of cocaine has been seized over the last four months at the Port of Durres.
The news came after police seized 12 kg of cocaine in a container of bananas coming from Ecuador yesterday. The Minister said that the seizure of such a large amount of cocaine over the last few months is due to Albania’s efforts to fight against organized crime.
Despite the seizure of such a vast amount of cocaine, no masterminds have been arrested to date. Police have arrested drivers and low-level runners, but no one higher up the chain has been apprehended.
The company found transporting bananas and cocaine yesterday was Alba Exotic Fruit. They were implicated in the trafficking 137 kg of cocaine in 2019 yet are still operational. Greek Police found cocaine in four of their containers and instead of arresting them, replaced it with bags of rice and trackers. This was done with the aim of catching those responsible for trafficking it.
The cargo was then seized in the Port of Durres. An employee of the Port and a cleaner on a fishing boat were both arrested. The owner of the boat, Gentian Malindi, escaped and was declared wanted.
The company, Alba Exotic Fruit was never investigated for its role in drug trafficking. While the other two defendants were sentenced to prison, the Court suspended the investigation into Malindi as he remains on the run.
Following yesterday’s seizure, Barjon Gumeni was arrested by the police. He is one of the owners of Alba Exotic Fruit, in possession of 10% of the shares. The rest of the company is owned by Eduart Dauti who has not been named as a suspect.
Albania is known as a destination and transit country for cocaine coming from Latin America. It is also one of the world’s leading producers of cannabis.