In an article entitled “Colombia of Europe: How tiny Albania became the continent’s drug trafficking headquarters”, British newspaper Independent, reveals that marijuana contributes $4 billion a year to Albania’s Gross Domestic Product from illegal drug sales.
In the piece, international contributor Borzou Daragahi claims Albanian gangs are among the world’s most powerful heroin and cocaine dealers, with the traffickers buying off authorities from Rotterdam in Holland, to Smyrna in Turkey, making it possible for their networks to move the drugs around.
Citing an EU official, the British newspaper writes that Albania acts as a centre of drug collection and distribution, rather than a location for cultivation. According to the same source, drug revenue is invested in luxurious construction along the Albanian coast and in the capital.
Albanian gangs are considered among the world’s top heroin, cocaine and cannabis traffickers. Both US and European law enforcement officials have described Albania as the largest provider of cannabis to the EU, as well as an important transit point for heroin and cocaine. Based on the value of drug seizures, some estimate that the marijuana alone generates up to $4bn (£3bn) a year, half of Albania’s GDP.
“The Adriatic Sea is now a highway for drug trafficking,” says Xhemal Gjunkshi, an opposition member of the Albanian parliament and a former army officer.
more at independent.co.uk