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Albania News:

Fatos Nano Drug Allegations


Posted on Friday, December 01 @ 15:03:04 PST by acl

Albania News
    Below is the translation of a document that was provided to me by a friend in Tirana. The report was assembled from conversations with three separate sources, one who works for an Albanian intelligence agency and two others who work within Nano’s circle. The translation tracks the original.

    Fatos Nano - Ex Prime Minister of Albania
    By Gary Kokalari - Political Analyst - Exclusively for ACLIS

    The current drug trafficking routes in Albania and their relations with Prime Minister Fatos Nano.

    Albania has become an important country for the trafficking of drugs, establishing itself as a safe transit route between East and West. Albania has made available to this kind of traffic its human resources and its political power. Before 1997, the drug trafficking in Albania was blooming through the planting of drug related plants and their sale outside Albania. Strong drugs such as heroin or cocaine were not present at the time because of the lack of serious partners and partners with political power. Former Minister of Interior Agron Musaraj (1993-1996) was a supporter of such groups, but his limited political power could not empower these groups. After Agron Musaraj left, the new interior minister of the Democratic Party, Halil Shamata, proposed new tough legislation against organized crime which was approved in the parliament in Autumn 1996. The legislation included strong punishment for drug and weapon traffickers and very often fixed prison terms.

    The law was then criticized by human rights organizations as well as segments of the socialist party, then in opposition. Several incriminated persons were arrested. Most of them were from Berat, Fier, Lushnja and VLora, places where the minister of interior had power.

    After the 1997 crisis and rebellion, many of these groups got out of prison and were strengthened rapidly. Using the fact that they had been in prison during the time the Democratic Party was in power politically, these groups became the nucleus of the criminal gangs which were protected by the socialist power which led the rebellion.

    As years passed, many of these criminal groups were eliminated in internal fights and the drug trafficking was concentrated with the groups that had more political power.

    In December 1997, prime minister Nano start the consultations with the former Chairman of the Legislative Commission in the parliament, the socialist Fehmi Abdiu (who later become the head of the Supreme Court) to abrogate the anti-trafficking laws approved in 1996. Thus, on January 15 1998, after the proposal of a group of the socialist members of the parliament, the law was abrogated. The harsh punishments were for drug trafficking were discontinued and there was a legislative vacuum related to the drug trafficking.

    The closest people to the prime minister became the protectors of this trafficking and then used such income for private investment primarily in construction and turism.

    Below are listed some of the most important groups that control and monitor the drug trafficking and its transport to the west and which have direct ties with the political power of prime minister Fatos Nano.

    1. One key person is in the group of bodyguards of the prime minister.

    His name is Pirro Ymeri and until 2001 he had his laboratory for the manufacturing of the drugs at the “Ali Demi” neighborhood in Tirana. Now he has moved his laboratory in unknown location. He cooperates with Arjan Rugji, former officer in the guard of the republic for a long time, nominated there through the support of Nehat Kulla, a well known political and ordinary crime figure in Tirana, a close friend of Fatos Nano.

    After the nomination of Igli Toska as minister of interior, Arjan Rugji is nominated General Director of the Borders in the Ministry of Interior. Both these persons lead a drug trafficking group with its headquarters in caffe/restaurant “Milosao” in Tirana. They have cooperated even with former minister of interior Luan Rama, but not important persons. Luan Rama has as his primary liason for drug trafficking someone named with whom he continues to preserve his connections and the trafficking route Turkey – Tirana – Italy.

    2. The second route is that of Eduart Helmesi, a.k.a. “Ed Baxhella”.

    Eduart Helmesi is the partner of the wife of prime minister Nano, Xhoana Nano, and has been e person suspected for murder since 1992, for the physical elimination of the group of Gazmend Muca. He is the director of the company “Xhoy Travel”, property of Xhoana Nano. This group does the [drug] distribution into Greece with the buses of Xhoy Travel with Greek collaborators. The same group has other collaborators that distribute in Greece and Italy. Thus, in FIer they have as primary partners Arjan Shanaj and Renato Cami. Renato Cami is author of several murders in Fier and has been used by the Albanian Secret Services to intimidate the opposition parties in the 2001 elections. Accidentally, a year ago a large quantity of drugs was found in his house, but the leaders of the ministry of interior closed the case. Together with Eduart Helmesi (a.k.a “Ed Baxhella”) works Artur Labi in Durres. He is an old trafficker since the time the Democratic Party was in power before 1997.

    3. The third route is the Factory of Alcoholic Beverages “Aquila Likuori” in the highway Tirana- Durres. This factory functions and drug laboratory.

    After 2002 has been placed under the control of Fatos Nano’s people. To cover up the close connections with the prime minister, this factory wins the procurements for the supply with alcoholic beverages and other gifts for governmental ceremonies.

    4. The route controlled by Agron Duka, Minister of Food and Agriculture and Leonard Koka.

    This group handles the transport of cocaine. Leonard Koka is the brother of Agron Duka’s wife, and a close friend of Fatos Nano. He was the personal donor of Fatos Nano while he had resigned as prime minister in 1998-2001 and the person who introduced Nano with his second wife, Xhoana Nano, who at the time worked in Greece.

    Under this group’s control is the drug route Turkey-Durres- Kosova- Germany as well as Turkey –Durre- Italy. This group is also known as “Shijak’s Group”. In this group participate Ilir Hoxha, Arben Shabani, the brothers Tusha (Shijak). Some of them used to be Democratic Party activists and have been involved with this group after Agron Duka, the socialist representative of the Shijak area (close to Durres) helped to get out of prison a person close to them in 2001, during the elections. Arben Shabani was arrested in 2001 in a random police stop and search because they found elements of a drug laboratory as well as drugs in his house, but he was later freed by under pressure from Agron Duka, minister of food and agriculture.

    With this group works also the nephew of Bajram Ibro (Director General of the Police) as well as a trafficker named “Gezim” in Laprake, a peripheral neighborhood in Tirana. A second group within this group is that led by Lul (Lulezim) Berisha, Arjan Saliu, Klodian Saliu, Rudin Taullahu, Artur Begu dhe Arben Talja. This group is led directly by Leonard Kkoa, the close friend of Fatos Nano, in the route Turkey- Tirana-Durres- Italy. With these two groups is connected one of the deputies of Agron Duka in the Ministry of Agriculture who is the Director of the Forestry Police and director of police in Durres. This group does the trafficking of cocaine in the route Durres-Belgjike.

    5. The route Macedonia-Albania-Greece- outside route – and Tirana – Korce- Selanik (inside route).

    This route is controlled by Gjergj Luca and Jani Morava – transportation business in Pogradec. Gjergj Luca is the owner of several big casinos in Tirana, Shkoder and Montenegro. Members of this group are Roland Ziu (owner of “Espanja”), Alfred Ziu and Fatos Zjarri, transporter.

    6. The Route Montengro – Tirana – Italy (cocaine) and Tirana –Shkoder.

    This route also is controlled by Gjergj Luca, Artur Gjini and Arjan Andoni. This last one was arrested a year ago in a clear attempt by Fatos Nano to place Gjergj Luca under his complete control. After everything was achieved, his freedom is being arranged. A close collaborator of this group is Pellumb Gjoka in Shkoder the middle man with the Montenegrins and Besim Tulina and Adem Ahmeti. Fatos Nano has established contacts with Gjergj Luca, about a year and a half ago about this matter.

    7. The group of Edmond Pustina and “Tota” in the Fortuzi street (approximately 45 years old).

    Mond Pustina is the first cousin of Nano’s brother in law, Fatos Pustina, and has been previously convicted seven years ago for drugs. Currently he works in customs. In this group also participate Ilir Arbana (officer in the customs police) and Ardian Resuli, former police chief in Saranda and Durres who currently invests his profits in construction. They keep relations with Gramoz Ruci, head of the parliamentary group of the socialist party and Ilir Gjoni, former minister of interior. Kane and collaborators in the Albanian Secret Services.

    8.Igli Toska in the route Macedonia-Albania

    A person close to Igli Toska controls the drug route Macedonia-Albania. He was accidentally arrested several months ago with 30kg of heroin and later the news was transformed as if he was caught with only 30gs of heroin. The trafficker is the son of Leonidha Taoksa, Director of the Tirana Municipality. [Igli] Toska did not make any comments about the accusations. He is trying to substitute the group previously led by former minister Luan Rama through the group of Ymer Lala.

    9.The personal bodyguard of former prime minister Pandeli Majko, now minister of defence, called “Majko’s Elidon” controls the transportation from Bulgaria trouh Albania.

    He does the transportation through the help of Arjan Rugji, the director of the border police in the ministry of interior and also collaborates with Fatmir Meto, former police chief arrested after the murder of the opposition member of parliament Azem Hajdari. The control of these transportation routes is done through Arjan Rugji and, in some occasions, from the border entry point called “Three Bridges” where chief of police is “Bilali” a former bodyguard of Fatos Nano.

    These re the most important groups which deal with drug trafficking in Albania and use for this purpose the political power and the connections with persons close to prime minister Fatos Nano.

    The accuracy of these data has been verified/corroborated by at least three source and has had the contribution of segments of the Albanian Secret Service, outside the control of prime minister Fatos Nano.


    ACL - 01 December 2006

 
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