Mcliniet Dzcvat and Sali Recica, were also born in Yugoslaviarnin the late I’^Jf^D’s. ‘I’herc are about SO.OOO fonner YugosUns inrntheCzeeli Republie tocla; half of them are Albanians serving asrnaeconipliees to the Albanian mafia and drug dealers.rnAlbanians and Kosovo Albanians, together with their fellowrnnationals from Turke}’, have been involved in drug smugglingrnfor ()er ^O ears. The Albanians started as eonriers for the Turkishrnand Bulgarian state mafias, who smuggled drugs to fund secretrnpolitical, militar, and intelligence operations. The majorit-rnwere recruited from the ”Kosovo triangle” (the cities ofrnVeliki Truovac, Presevo, and Gujilane), one of the black spotsrnon Interpol’s map of world drug routes.rnAs /Mien Labrousse, a French expert on drug smuggling, toldrnthe W’afihington Post last year:rnPowerful Turkish clans, who used to control [the] Europeanrnheroin market, found out that, over the past tenrn} ears, their terrain had been infringed upon by Russian,rnCaucasian, and ilbanian drug Mafia looking for theirrnshare of the market and profit. The Kosovar Albaniansrnhave grovn so strong that they have control over seventyrnpercent of the drug market in Switzerland only. At thisrnmoment, at least 2,000 Kosovar Albanians are in jails inrnthis country for drug dealing. The war in the Balkans disruptedrnformer Yugoslav channels for drug smugglingrnfrom the Middle East to the Old Continent; over the lastrnfour years, however, nimble Kosovo Albanians openedrnnew distribution centers and new passages to the West.rnThe Albanian connection represents the heroin routernthat causes most problems to European states and theirrnpolice forces.rnToday, there are about 500,000 Kosovo Albanians in Europe.rnThis base has strengthened the Albanian drug mafia in two importantrnways. The first is the accumulation of capital throughrntrafficking in drugs and weapons and through other criminal activities,rnsuch as car theft. The second is the organization of Albaniansrnfrom Kosmet, Macedonia, Albania, and Turkey into arnsingle drug trust headquartered in New York, with branches inrnChicago, Tirana, Skopje, Istanbul, Pristina, Sofia, Prague, Budapest,rnMoscow, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Brussels.rnCyorgy Hollos, head of the narcotics division of the Hungarianrnpolice, said recently thatrnAbout 20 tons of heroin destined for Germany arrivesrnfrom the Far East to our border. Last year, we seized 812rnkilos of this drug, which is twice as much as. . . in previousrnyears. Greater quantities of drugs are smuggled inrntrucks arriving from many countries with . . . internationalrnmarkings, which guarantees the protection of this cargornfrom our customs and police inspection. Unless wernchange our regulations, we cannot cut this heroin channel,rnwhich is coordinated by three gangs in Budapest.rnThe biggest is the Turkish-Hungarian gang; the Hungarian-rnKosovo Albanian gang is also strong, while the Hungarian-rnArabic is the weakest.rnhi Istanbul, DM 50,000 buys a kilogram of 90 percent purernheroin. In the spring of 1996, customs officers at the KapetanrnAndreevo crossing on the border between Turkey and Bulgariarnarrested Osman Haliti, Fatmir Haliti, and Rehmar Kelemendirn(all of Kosovo), who were transporting 320 liters of anhydrousrnacid for heroin production. During questioning, all three admiti:rned that the’ were working as couriers for “Bojci,” a secretrngroup of Bulgarian drug dealers.rnAccording to Interpol, tiie drug route from Southeast Asia tornconsumer markets in Western Europe passes through Mghanistan,rnPakistan, Iran, and finally Turkey, where the raw drugs arernrefined. Interpol estimates that about 90 percent of heroinrnseized in b’.urope comes from Turkc)’, bv way of Brdgaria andrnMacedonia. As a result of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, thern”Balkan route” forked into two—a northern one, through Bulgaria,rnRumania, and Macedonia; and a southern one, throughrnGreece, Macedonia, and Albania.rnFor poor Albanians, drug smuggling is a way out of povert’.rnLast year, a 12-year-old Albanian boy was arrested inrnsouthern Italy, in the port of Bari, with five kilos of hashish in hisrnknapsack. He told police that he wanted to settle in Italy andrnthat he had been ordered to smuggle the drugs in exchange forrnpassage from the Albanian port of Valone.rnAfter three years of drug trafficking in Switzerland, 25-yearoldrnArtan Hodza became a rich man. “I was transporting heroinrnfrom Istanbul, via Skopje, to Zurich,” savs Hodza. Once, therndrug was in a gas tank; another time, two yormg Norwegian girlsrndiverted customs officers. Artan and his twin brother, Arben,rnused to earn as much as DM 10,000 a month in Switzerland.rnBack in Albania, Hodza was earning less than DM 100 arnmonth. His drug earnings have allowed him to build a luxuriousrnhouse in Sijak, a town of 11,000 halfway between the portsrnof Drac and Tirana. The house, which cost DM 200,000 andrnfeatures a swimming pool and Italian furniture, is one of 700rnnew estates in a town where three factories have closed.rnIn 1993, Interpol arrested about a hundred Kosovo Albaniansrninvolved in the international drug trade. Nearlv 50 were detainedrnin Germany and approximately 20 in Switzerland. Italyrnalso arrested about 20 Kosovo Albanian smugglers. The samernyear, eight European countries worked together to break up tliern”Benjamin” smuggling ring. Another 330 dealers were arrested,rnand approximately 250 kilos of heroin was seized.rnLong before the Bosnian war broke out, Yugoslavia warnedrnInterpol and the United Nations that the Kosovo Albanianrnmafia was spreading across the world. As early as 1988, the Yugoslavrngovernment sent information to the United Nationsrnabout 5,000 Albanians in Kosovo who were involved in heroinrnsmuggling in Europe. That same year, 55 Kosovo Albanianrndrug dealers were arrested in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav’ government’srnwarnings were met with silence from the United Nationsrnand Interpol.rnRecently, however, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland,rnand Italy have all announced plans to deport /Vlbanian offenders.rnUnder pressure from citizens upset over increasingrntroubles with Albanians, who have filled Swiss prisons, the Bernrngovernment has decided to revoke the political asylum of manyrnAlbanians and return them to Yugoslavia. Since most of themrndo not have Yugoslav papers, however, Belgrade does not wantrnto accept them. Switzeriand is attempting to deport 153 Mhanians,rnand Belgium, Austria, and even the United States mayrnfollow suit. A quick glance at the situation in a few countriesrnwill indicate why.rnIn Switzerland, the Kosovo Albanian mafia is led by SamirnSabedini, better known by his nickname, “Baron.” The 40-rnyear-old owner of the Plans Cafe in Zurich was a major supplierrnof drugs to Switzerland. The Swiss police shadowed Sabedi-rnCirnornnrn1-3rni – irn>rnJULY 1999/2.)rnrnrn