Albania, an important destination for drug trafficking and manufacturing

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Albania has turned into an important location for the trafficking of different kinds of illegal drugs as well as their manufacturing.

During 2019, 5.4 tons of illegal drugs were confiscated in our country, out of which 5.2 tons of cannabis and around 200 kg hard drugs, according to the latest report of the Global Initiative Against Trans-National Organized Crime. The only country in the region, where a larger quantity of drugs is confiscated is Serbia.

The report pointed out the city of Elbasan as one of the most prominent locations for the trafficking of hard drugs.

The port of Durres is also a prominent terminal, from where cocaine, cannabis, and heroine enter our country.

It’s not just criminal gangs that partake in the illegal drug trafficking operations in Albania, because other exponents involved include state structures, police and customs authorities as well as transportation companies.

Groups of organized crime in Albania also collaborate with Macedonian and Serbo-Montenegrin gangs in the Western Balkans.

Cannabis

Albania remains the most prominent source countries for the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis in Europe. Cannabis is mainly cultivated in the mountain range of Dukagjin, Kruja as well as the region of Vlora.

The price range for buying cannabis in wholesale is 1200-1400 euros per kilogram and over 2000 euros for a higher quality produced in a greenhouse.

The pathway followed by traffickers of cannabis is:

Albania – Italy: Departure from Fier, Himara or Lezha towards Italy through speedboats.

Albania – Greece: Departure from Qafë Bota, Kapshtica, and Kakavija connecting by roads to Greece, or Albania – North Macedonia – Greece.

Another itinerary is Montenegro (Hani i Hotit) or Kosovo from Kukes and transits from Albania to Italy or Greece.

Cannabis traffic in Albania is important because felons pay not only for transport but also for production, seeing that it is cultivated inside the country.

Heroine

Around 60-65 tons of heroin pass through the Western Balkans every year.

Heroin usually enters Albania through Qafe-Thana and Elbasan, or from Kosovo.

During the past 2 years, there has been a rise in the traffic of heroin through boats from Turkey – Albania.

From Albania, the cargo of heroin gets trafficked by sea on to Italy or by vehicles through Hani i Hotit on to Montenegro.

1 kg of heroin, bought wholesale in Albania costs 16 500 euros, whereas local consumers buy it for around 20 euros per 1 gram.

The bust of the heroin lab in Has in 2018, has shown that in Albania opium gets trafficked from Asian countries and is later manufactured locally.

Cocaine

Western Balkans is turning into the main entering gate for cocaine from Latin America towards Europe.

The port of Durres and the port of Tivar in Montenegro are the main entering locations for cocaine in Western Balkans.

During 2018 in Albania, the police busted around 630 kg of cocaine, whereas in 2019, 144 kg.

From Durres, cocaine is transported towards Montenegro through Hani i Hotit or to North Macedonia through Qafa e Thanes, and after to the EU.

The value of cocaine trafficked in Durres goes from 25 000- 30 000 euros per kilogram. After entering local markets in the region its value rises, for example in Greece it could reach as much as 50 000 euros per kilogram.

The manufacturing of cocaine has started to take place in Albania also. In 2015, authorities discovered a lab set up for cocaine processing in the city of Elbasan.

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