The Albanian mafia in Kosovo is trying to develop production of genetically modified cocaine that would make it independent from its Colombian suppliers. – This is according to Italian journalist Roberto Saviano, author of the bestseller book “Gomorra” on the Naples mafia, made into an award-winning movie.
It adds that in the best case scenario, in ten years, Kosovo will become a European province with local government, but all decisions will be made by Brussels.
Austrian Vorarlberger Nachrichten writes that Kosovo depends on foreign help now more than ever and that the struggling economy is still waiting for foreign investments.
“Even though billions have been pumped into Kosovo, there are few shining examples. Several kilometers of highway towards Albania and the largest city to the west, Peć, have been finished. If there is any internal political progress, it is very slow,” the daily writes.
Vienna newspaper Presse says that the international organizations in Kosovo are “stepping on their own toes”-the international officials, EULEX, the old UNMIK which wants to leave the province, but can’t, and the OSCE in between.
The daily states that the economic situation is difficult and is getting worse because of the global crisis.
“The number of countries that recognized Kosovo is small,” Albert Rohan, a former deputy UN envoy in the Kosovo status negotiations, told the daily.
“That is a sign that the influence of the U.S. is decreasing,” he said, adding that the lack of unity within the EU is also “responsible” for this.
UN: Kosovo heart of Balkan drug route
quote: NEW YORK — The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released a report.
It warned that the axis between South American drug cartels and the Albanian mafia have reached “alarming proportions”, while reports by several intelligence agencies show that Kosovo is a distribution center on the crossroads of global routes and pathways of drug trafficking.
This presents reason for concern, primarily because of the new pathways of drug trafficking, and “inclusion of cocaine in the range of products offered by the groups that are active along the Balkan drug route”, the UNODC report said.
The Albanian mafia has recently begun taking over the control of ports in Romania, in addition to the already solid network existing in Albania and Montenegro, the report said.
This warning by UNODC is the latest in a series of alarming reports by a number of agencies in charge of fighting organized crime, including the FBI, Interpol and Europol, which state that the Albanian mafia is the most serious criminal organization in Europe because it controls a huge part of the heroin trade in a number of European state – Switzerland, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Norway, and, recently, in Great Britain.
The western European heroin market, of which 40 to 75 percent is controlled by Albanians, brings annual earnings of around USD 7bn, which makes the trafficking in this type of narcotic by far the most profitable activity in the Balkans, western intelligence services have reported.
The territory that includes Albania, Kosovo and western Macedonia is a huge drug warehouse. Its contents are drugs measured not in kilograms, but in tons, a western diplomat posted in the Balkans said in a statement for Tanjug new agency, explaining how intelligence sources estimate that there are at least seven tons of heroin in this region at all times, ready to be moved to the West.
Former official of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Michael Levine has said that one of the wings of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was “linked with every known narco-cartel in the Middle East and the Far East”, and that almost every European intelligence service and police has files on “connections between ethnic Albanian rebels and drug trafficking”.
“Albania and Kosovo are the heart of the Balkan drug trade route which links Pakistan and Afghanistan with Europe. That route is worth around USD 7bn annually and around 80 percent of the heroin intended for the western European market is smuggled along this route,” said a report presented to the U.S. Congress.
International representatives in Kosovo complained in the recent years that it is “difficult to estimate, in the complicated relations on the political scene of the Kosovo Albanians and ethnic Albanians in Macedonia or southern Serbia, whether politics controls organized crime or the mafia controls politicians”.
The agency says in its report that it is “also possible, however, that organized criminal groups in Kosovo in fact have no influence on the authorities because they are actually those who are in power, as Italian General Fabio Mini said on his departure from the post of commander of KFOR, the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo”. – end quote