Kosovo Albanian mafia takes over world drug market - Serbian daily

Published on August 28, 2006, BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom

Category: Organized Crime in Kosovo

Text of report in English by Belgrade-based Radio B92 text website on 28 August

Belgrade, 28 August: According to [Belgrade-based] daily Blic, any drugs, in any amount, can be ordered from Albanian dealers in Kosovo. Citing sources from within the Serbian Internal Affairs Minister, Blic writes that the common practice in these drug transactions is to have one person from the group which ordered the drugs stay with the group that is supplying the drugs until the transaction is completed. "In bootlegging a professional driver that does not know what kind of risks he is getting into is usually hired. He is told that he must transport some products and is paid by the job and that is where it ends for him," the daily's sources claim. "However, the main job is done by someone who is always observing and is involved in the narcotics web, someone who known who the drugs are being sent to and who will take the money," the unnamed source said. Such was the scenario last Monday [21 August], when two Albanians, a driver and a passenger with 45 kilograms of heroin hidden in the truck's spare tire, started their trip from Presevo to Italy. The truck crossed the Serbian and Croatian borders easily and was not uncovered until reaching the Slovenia-Italy border, at which point the trailer, which was otherwise completely empty, was searched after being deemed suspicious. This was the largest drug confiscation action this year in Slovenia. The driver and the passenger remain the authorities' main link in the investigation of the supply-and-demand chain of drug smuggling within the Balkans. The Blic source said that the Albanian mafia and drug dealers, according to FBI statistics, are the leading suppliers on the world market, passing the Colombian cartel, the Italian mafia, Japanese Yakuza and the Chinese Triad. "The centres of narcotics distribution are Pristina, Pec and Prizren, and marijuana, heroin, hashish, cocaine and other drugs arrive to Kosovo from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, through Albania and Macedonia. Forty per cent of heroin in the US and Europe comes from Kosovo, and five tons of the drug arrive to the western European market every month," the source claims. An increasing in heroin production in Afghanistan has also helped the Albanian drug mafia over the past several months. Serbia is located right in the middle of the so-called Balkan route, through which drugs from Bulgaria are smuggled towards Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Austria. Such a position enables Serbian dealers to have an active role in getting drugs from Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as from Kosovo Albanians. The drugs arrive from Veliki Trnovac, Presevo and Bujanovac, while the main Serbian drug dealers are located in Novi Pazar. "A portion of the drugs remains here, while the majority is transferred to West Europe, through tested links between Serbs who live there or businesspeople who are secure in their dealings. Serbs have in that way taken over a majority of drug dealings in Slovenia and control the heroin market in Denmark. The strings are being pulled by a Serb in Slovenia, who is one of the most influential drug dealers who has ties that reach as far as the Columbian cartel, while the ties in Denmark stem from the time of the Zemun Clan. The Serbian police has confiscated 233 kilograms of heroin this year and has cut off nine smuggling channels," Blic's source states. Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 0936 gmt 28 Aug 06

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