June 24, 2019

Italy and Albania: 43 arrests for drug trafficking

As a result of the successful efforts of the members of an Italian/Albanian joint investigation team, 43 people were arrested for large-scale drug trafficking. To date, more than 2 300 kg of marijuana, cocaine and heroin were seized, with an estimated total value of EUR 15 million.

At a coordination meeting held today at Eurojust, representatives from the Public Prosecution Offices of Bari, Italy, and Tirana, Albania, discussed the successful results of an investigation into organised drug trafficking that so far has led to the arrest of 43 people. A joint investigation team (JIT) between Italy and Albania was established in 2017, with financial support from Eurojust. The complex investigation is ongoing.

Two powerful organised criminal groups, composed of Italian and Albanian nationals, operated out of Bari and its environs, including Sicily, Campania, Calabria and Abruzzo, and with the involvement of Albania. Logistics were handled in Puglia, Italy, while the production, packaging, sorting and transfer of the drugs from Albania to Italy were handled by the Albanian operation.

Judicial and law enforcement authorities from Bari (Direzione Anti-mafia, D.I.A.), Carabinieri, Polizia di Stato, Guardia di Finanza and D.I.A. of Rome, Napoli, Reggio Calabria, Catania, Lecce, Catanzaro, Salerno and Bologna, Interpol and the Albanian Police were involved in the investigation and arrests.

Keys to the success of this operation so far are the JIT and the support of Eurojust, which played a major role in setting up and financing the JIT.

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