CHRONICLES INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTrnKosovo and the Albanian Drug Tradernby Marko LopusinarnA s I write this at the end of April, the NATO bombing of Yu-rn1 Vgoslavia is in its fourth week. Albania—prcdictabl}—liasrnbeen turned into a NATO base, and the Kosovo LiberationrnArmy is openly recruiting volunteers in NATO countries, includingrnthe United States, where both U.S.-born Albanians andrnAlbanian resident aliens are allowed to join the ranks of anrnarmed movement that meets all the standards of a terrorist organization.rnIn late 1998, the New York Times reported thatrnKosovo Albanians in America—with the approval of the U.S.rnState Department—were collecting money to purchase armsrnfor the terrorists. (This activity is not banned by federal law asrnlong as the State Department does not list the KLA as a terroristrnorganization.) The .Albanians coordinating the fundraising acknowledgedrnthat they had collected the fantastic sum of $100rnmillion from Kosovo Albanians in New York, Detroit, Chicago,rnand Boston. The transportation of arms to Albania was also coordinatedrnfrom the United States.rnThe State Department’s decision not to include the KLA onrnits list of terrorist organizations makes a mockery of internationalrnjustice. While the Clinton administration knows that thernKLA is receiving arms from Iran, has ties to Osama bin Laden,rnand is deeply involved in the international drug trade, thesernfacts have been kept from the general public. The sporadicrnvoices of former American officials who cauhon against armingrnthe KLA are drowned out by the battle cries of the administration.rnThe decision by the corporate media in the United States notrnto expose the KLA’s involvement in the international drug tradernappears to be as politically mohvated as the efforts of the StaternDepartment to portray the KLA as freedom fighters. Unlikerntheir counterparts in the United States, European journali.stsrnhave reported on the sources that finance the KLA. Large numbersrnof Albanians from Kosmet (Kosovo and Metohija) —whornhave falsely claimed the right to asylum in Germany, Switzerland,rnSweden, and Belgium —are raising funds through armsrnsmuggling, drug trafficking, and prostitution. According to thernCorrkre della sera (March 6, 1998), Albanians from Kosovornwho live in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States arerninvolved in a variet}’ of illegal activities, especially drug smuggling,rnand they use a portion of their profits to finance terroristrnactivifies.rnThe latest police action against the Koso’o mafia, made publicrnafter almost a year of investigation, occurred in Milan.rnMarko Lopusina, a Belgrade-based joiimalist who has coveredrninternational, Balkan, and Yugoslav politics for over 20 years, isrnthe author of, among others. The Black Book: Censorship inrnYugoslavia, 1945-1991. His new book. Wars, Lies, and Videotapes:rnThe CIA and the News Media Against Yugoslavia, willrnappear later this year.rnItalian newspapers reported in early January that the heroinrnmarket in Lombardy is controlled entirely b’ Kosovo Albaniansrnwho do not even bother to launder their money in Italy butrntransfer it directly to Kosmet and to Switzerland to finance thernKLA. After police in Milan held a press conference to exposernthe Kosovo Albanians’ criminal organization, Rome’s La Repubblicarnran the headline (January 19): “Heroin Sold in MilanrnServes to Finance Kosovo Liberation Army.”rnThe latest discovery in Italy is just a drop in the ocean. Albanianrnorganized crime rules the streets of Geneva, and in Hungarv’,rnthe head of the narcotics division of the Hungarian police,rnGyorgy Hollos, estimates that Albanian criminals control 80rnpercent of the heroin market. The Hungarian newspaper MagyarrnHirlap reported on November 15, 1997, that Albaniansrnfrom Kosmet control almost the entire heroin market in Hungaryrnand send part of their profits to separatists fighting for arn”Greater Albania.” The same is true in the Czech Republic,rnwhere police last year broke an Albanian drug gang, arresting 16rnpeople who were hiding 40,000 doses of heroin worth somern300,000 deutsche marks (DM).rnWhen, after a recent bust in Prague, a Yugoslav Albanian wasrncaptured with ten kilograms of smuggled heroin in his car, thernYugoslav public was not surprised either by the swift action ofrnthe Czech police or by the ethnicity of the captured smuggler.rnOnly the quantity seemed odd, since the Kosovo Albanianrncouriers who take drugs from Turkey to Europe and Americarnused to smuggle slightly over three kilos of heroin per person.rnThe war in Kosovo has apparently led the Albanian undergroundrnto increase heroin deliveries from the Middle East tornthe Western drug market. According to the Swiss and thernFrench press, since the Colombian cartel entered the Old Continentrnin 1997 with drugs of higher qualit’ and lower prices,rnKosovo Albanian drug dealers have been forced to lower heroinrnprices, which has increased consumption of their “white powder.”rnThe Czechs first had troubles with the Kosovo Albanianrnmafia in 1992, when Yugosla^s (mostly from Koso’o) began tornimmigrate. That year, as many as 20,000 illegal immigrantsrnwere stopped at the border. The police confiscated 50 kilos ofrnheroin and arrested 35 people in one bust alone—four Czechsrnand 31 Kosovo Albanians. The Czech police had dismantied arngang from Kosmet and their network of dealers, all of whomrnlived in Prague. One of them, Sali Bakija, had been pursued forrnan entire vear by the Czech police in an operation called “Andromeda.”rnIn July 1996, Czech police arrested another group of Balkanrndrug dealers. The “Sirius” operation resulted in the capture ofrnthree Koso’o Albanians and approximately 100 kilos of heroinrnworth half a million Czech crowns. One of the three, RamizrnSadiku, was born in Kosovo in 1953, and the other two.rn22/CHRON:CLESrnrnrn