Balkans: March 22, 2002


: Remember all of the reports in 1998 linking the Kosovo Liberation Army to narcotics trafficking? Many of those links were forged during Albanias Communist era, specifically by the Albanian security services and secret police. Old ties dont fade. This past week IWPR ran a long article on links between senior Albanian government officials and the European drug trade. Several men recently arrested in Albania for narcotics smuggling were senior law enforcement officials. In fact, one of the policemen nabbed was LTC Shamet Bejko, the chief of the port police in Durres. Other members of the drug ring were responsible for providing ships leaving Durres with legal transit permits. The fact that the men were investigated and arrested is an encouraging sign. However, you dont get senior security and trade jobs in Albania without political connections, therefore its no surprise that investigators allege the drug links go deeper into the Albanian political establishment. The article also reported that in February 20 kilos of heroin were found in a police car near the Kosovo border. Heres one telling quote: "The involvement of police structures in this illegal traffic is obvious - the Durres case proves it," said Josif Shtembari, head of the public order ministry's internal investigation team...




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close