According to a new Europol report, Albanian nationals constitute the group most commonly arrested in Europe when cocaine is seized. The second and third most common were Brazilians and Colombians respectively.
The report details how Belgium and the Netherlands are the “gateways” of cocaine into Europe. It continued that Albanian organized crime groups are heavily involved with these activities, along with more traditional organized crime groups such as the mafia.
Cited in the report are the Belgian and Dutch authorities who claim that Albanians have expanded their role in securing cocaine and establishing their own contacts in South America. They now have direct contact with distributors and wholesale distribution networks in Europe.
The amount of drugs reaching European shores has increased alongside the criminal groups who traffic it. This is due in part to the fragmentation of drug cartels in Latin America.
Other key findings of the report include Albanians engaging in the distribution of cocaine in Germany, Sweden, the UK, and even as far afield as Australia.
Since 2010, Italy, Germany, and Belgium have consistently identified Albanian criminals among the top ten nationalities of those prosecuted for cocaine trafficking. In recent years, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, and Switzerland have observed the same trend. In Italy, Albanians are the most prominent foreign drug traffickers as of 2018.
Germany has estimated that 29 of the 31 Albanian organized groups deal with drug trafficking. Albanian citizens are second only to German citizens in terms of cocaine-related offenses.
Greece reported that since 2017, Albanian traffickers were expanding into the cocaine trade and were working with traffickers in Latin America to import significant quantities of the drug into Greek territory with a view to distribute it as well. Albanian citizens are second only to Greeks in the country for cocaine-related offenses.