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European police arrest 59 to smash Albanian drug gang

By AFP

February 6, 2024 08:22 PM


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European police have dismantled a major drug gang operating a trafficking network based in Albania and Italy, authorities said Tuesday, arresting dozens of suspects.

Albanian, British, German, Italian and Spanish police on Monday and Tuesday swooped on the gang after an investigation first launched in 2019, Europe's judicial agency said.

"In a large-scale operation, 59 suspects were arrested in Albania, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom," Eurojust said in a statement.

"The network mainly smuggled heroin, cocaine, hashish and marijuana into Germany and Spain using cars with double bottoms or secret compartments," added the agency based in The Hague.

In a similar raid on the Albanian-led group last year, police arrested 21 suspected gang members and recovered drugs worth 2.7 million euros ($2.9 million).

Spain in December also seized 11 tonnes of cocaine imported by Albanian cartels and arrested 20 people in a raid, highlighting the growing prominence of such gangs across Europe.

Spanish police at the time fingered a so-called "Balkan cartel" consisting mostly of Albanian mafia groups, which it said for some time had been monopolising the shipment of drugs, not only in Europe, but also in Latin America.


AFP


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