Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Drug kingpin allegedly linked to Albanian government
Police handout photo of some of the drugs seized.
After an investigation that lasted for at least a year, police have uncovered an international ring worth hundreds of millions of euros that supplied Europe with drugs, and are looking for one of its leaders, who allegedly has links to the Albanian government.
The 44-year-old suspect, who had a drug-related criminal record, had been appointed by the government to oversee transport issues in the town of Saranda in Albania in 2014 despite being accused of being a drug lord by opposition parties in the neighboring country.
Fifteen people have so far been arrested – 13 Greeks and two Albanian nationals – in raids conducted last Sunday in the Attica municipalities of Afidnes, Aspropyrgos, Glyka Nera, Ymittos, Korydallos, Kallithea and Kifissia, the islands of Salamina and Zakynthos, and Veria, northern Greece. A total of 678.5 kilos of cannabis hidden on an islet off Zakynthos was confiscated.
Investigations are also reportedly being conducted in Belgium. According to the police narcotics unit, the ring, which has been active since at least 2014, used trucks and speedboats to transport huge quantities of cannabis and cocaine to Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Spain, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Belgium and Norway.
Police said the drugs were imported to Greece via speedboats from Albania and then distributed to Europe through a bogus Greece-based international truck transport company with subsidiaries in Bulgaria and Austria.