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Albania Detains 45 in Anti-Drugs Bust Focused on Elbasan

An Albanian ant-drugs operation focused on the town of Elbasan and some areas nearby in central Albania – an area well known for its crime and drugs presence – has resulted in 45 detentions. Seven more suspects remain at large.

Police declared that this was the result of only the first phase of the operation and that it will continue. The 45 arrested are mainly accused of drug trafficking and drug dealing.

Media reported that the arrested persons were sent by bus to the capital, Tirana.

The head of Elbasan Police, Ilir Proda, said the police had been following the case for around three months.

“It became possible to identify 52 citizens involved in criminal activity in the criminal offences of ‘trafficking in narcotics’, ‘production and sale of narcotics, individually and in cooperation with each other’, divided into several criminal groups,” Proda said.

BIRN reported previously on the crime presence in the town and their impunity; many have named it Albania’s “crime capital”.

The central town of about 80,000 people saw a dramatic decline into poverty in the 1990s after the fall of the communist regime, resulting in the bankruptcy of almost all heavy industry, which had provided most of the jobs in Elbasan.

Crime groups flourished, adding to the woes of the town in the last few years.

Dozens of murders are thought to be related to gang fights for control of territory, or for control of lucrative international drug trafficking between two main groups known to have a presence there.

The crime situation seems to have worsened in the recent years, with even more mafia-style murders.

Source: Balkan Insight