1.5 tons of drugs seized in joint operation of Greece, Italy and Frontex
TIRANA, April 12 – The Italian coast guard in collaboration with Greek authorities and the European Borders Mission Frontex seized 1.5 tons of marijuana worth 10 million euros originating from Albania and arrested seven drug traffickers who were trying to smuggle the drugs using high speed boats.
The joint operation took place in the Ionian Sea as officers chased the speedboat carrying the drugs using helicopters and boats for over 22 hours.
Italy’s Guardia di Finanza said it was tipped off from Albanian police over the possible trafficking of marijuana from the Albanian coast across the Adriatic Sea to the coast of Calabria.
The chase across the Mediterranean Sea involved Italian speedboats, helicopters as well as Portuguese and Spanish C295 planes from the Frontex mission. The traffickers were stopped north of Crete by the Greek coastal guard with the help of an Italian helicopter.
Meanwhile, Italian officers in the region of Abruzzo seized about 2 tons of marijuana smuggled from Albania to the coast of Puglia. Officials said the drugs was transported by high speed boats to the shore and that was loaded in several trucks.
Albanian officials on the other hand have managed to confiscate about 5 tons of marijuana and 2,000 marijuana plants in the district of Skrapar.Two people have been arrested and three others are being questioned by police. The drugs were found hidden in a warehouse which police suspects it was being used to process and grow marijuana.
Police in the southern city of Saranda also seized an undisclosed amount of cannabis destined to Greece. Two people were arrested and two others are still being chased by the police.
Confiscations of cannabis makes headlines almost every day in Albania. Almost every week, police seizes tons of marijuana destined to be transported in neighbor countries. The confiscations however, reveal the sad truth that almost all districts of the country have turned into a massive marijuana plantation.