Police crackdown on main Shijak drug ring amid anti-drug raids throughout country

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 22, 2018 16:05

Police crackdown on main Shijak drug ring amid anti-drug raids throughout country

Story Highlights

  • In Shijak, the police arrested the Avdyli family members on Sunday: brothers Astrit, Flamur and Shkelqim, as well as their cousin Jasim Avdyli, previously convicted in Italy for killing an Italian police marshall, and H. Hoxha, previously convicted in Turkey for heroin traffic.

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TIRANA, Oct. 22 - Albanian police cracked down on one of the most powerful and active criminal groups in the heroine transport from Albania to Germany and conducted operations to target other similar drug rings throughout the country  during the weekend.

In Shijak, the police arrested the Avdyli family members on Sunday: brothers Astrit, Flamur and Shkelqim, as well as their cousin Jasim Avdyli, previously convicted in Italy for killing an Italian police Marshall, and H. Hoxha, previously convicted in Turkey for heroin traffic.

Twenty more arrests were reported during the Shijak operation on Sunday.

The Avdyli brothers are being accused for a number of criminal offenses, starting from murder and prostitution to drug trafficking and illegal businesses. They are in ownership of a big number of private enterprises in Albania, among them the luxurious Durres ‘Germany Hotel.’

However, a few local media also reported Flamur was allowed to walk free out of Tirana’s prosecution office on Monday morning.

According to the official police announcement, the operation was a result of audio-surveillance initiated and sent over from Germany and was warned by the country’s Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj during his meeting with the president of the German Federal Police.

In Durres, a similar operation went down against the former head of the ‘Durres Band’ Lulzim Berisha, however he was not found by the police.

The police operation was in the framework of executing the prosecution’s signed arrest warrant for Berisha and it involved RENEA Forces and other special operational units’ effectives in its execution.

According to local media, the police performed a search in Berisha’s home, while he was not there, and seized some objects that may serve the investigation, but that cannot be considered illegal.

Berisha, whose case investigation belongs to the same dossier as the Avdyli arrests in Shijak, is reported to be mainly residing abroad, which led the police to believe someone might have leaked information of the upcoming crackdown.

Meanwhile, in Albania’s South, between Saranda and Delvina, another police operation took place against Klement Balili, whose name became famous after his criminal ring was busted in Greece through an investigation involving the American DEA.

Balili has been dubbed the ‘Escobar of the Balkans’ and the Greek authorities have sentenced him with life imprisonment. There have so far been no reports from the police or the media on the operation’s rate of success in capturing him.

Balili worked as a state representative in Albania, having been appointed head of transport in Saranda and several police operations against him have failed in the past.

The former US Ambassador to Tirana Donald Lu spoke about Balili several times in the past, calling the inability to arrest him “a failure.”

“Balili is a powerful organized crime boss with political ties. For two years, the government, police and prosecutors have not had the ability or capability to arrest him,” Lu has said.

The newly-appointed EU Ambassador to Tirana Luigi Soreca congratulated the series of anti-drug police operations on Sunday evening.

We welcome the vast anti-drug operation undertaken today in various cities by the State Police. The fight against organized crime and drug trafficking is a top priority for the EU. We expect prosecutions and punishments to continue with lasting results,” Soreca wrote.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 22, 2018 16:05