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Drugs Flow Through Greek Border With Albania

C136E01772C83BA4F675BBF8EBF8FE58“The law enforcement authorities in Epirus are faced on a daily basis with an organized crime, that of drug trafficking from Albania to Greece, a natural bridge, as it borders on the neighboring country, 240 kilometers in length, while the rugged terrain helps the development of illegal activities,” the police Inspector of Epirus, Brigadier Constantinos Trompoukis stated.
In just the first three months of this year, 2.5 tons of hashish have been seized in Thesprotia and 1.1 tonsin Ioannina, near the Greek-Albanian border. Trompoukis sait it was the work of organized crime, with roles, teams and hierarchy, which acts with methodical planning.
The forests, the mountain paths and the inaccessible areas of the borders, the illegal border crossings or green borders as characterized in a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s report, November 2011, make the illegal activities easier. The same report says that “Albania is still a country of origin of cannabis and its products- marijuana, hashish, cannabis oil” and continues that “Greece and Italy are the main destinations for marijuana and hashish and that they are intermediate stations to send drugs in Europe.”
In March 2013, the U.S. Department of State pointed out in a report concerning drug control: “Albania is an intermediate station and destination of cannabis, heroin and cocaine. It is a country of origin of cannabis, which is transferred in the member states of the European Union.”
As Europol specialists estimate concerning the organized crime in the EU: “Albania, Turkey and Pakistan are the three major countries in drug trafficking.”
The police investigation reveals that hashish arrives at the borders’ regions from Albanians, where Greeks take it and transfer it to Greece. Along the borderline, the thugs have created paths even through the most inaccessible parts. The smuggling of drugs to Epirus is conducted by armed groups of Albanians, who either hide the drugs at the mountain, or load them in their Greek partners’ vehicles. Sometimes, they use even donkeys for the drug transportation, which are familiar with the mountain roads.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crimes said in November 2011 that cannabis cultivation is mainly done in Lazarat, a small town in the Gjirokaster District, with about 5.600 residents. It is 25 kilometers from the Greek border crossing Kakavia. Most of Lazarat’s people are armed. Strict controls are held at the town’s entrance. As reported, an amount from the drug trafficking money has been offered to mosques’ reconstruction.
The average salary in Albania is 250 euros per month, but those working pot farms are paid 20 euros per day and are mainly women. According to Albanian information, there is money-laundering by crime gang leaders who make investments in Albania and abroad.
During the last two years, the organized hashish cultivation and production has been expanded in various regions of Albania, like Avlona, Shkodra and the borders with Kosovo and FYROM, as reported from the same sources. As a result the production has doubled.

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