This page originates from:
The articles collected by: Mr. Benjamin Crocker Works, Director
SIRIUS: The Strategic Issues Research Institute
The original page is at: Sirius Kosovo Archive ***
Articles on KLA-Kosovo-Drugs-Mafia and Fundraising
July 26, 1999
NOTE: Dragan Ivetic, 3rd-year law student at University of
Illinois College of Law, collected and contributed the majority of articles (#1,
16-17, 19-28, 34) in this file and Stephanie Niketic provided #6-9.
NOTE: This archive, intended as a research resource, contains copyrighted
material, included herein for "fair use only."
- Wall Street Journal; September 9, 1985; Giuliani and Kosovo-Alb. Drug
Mafia in NYC
- Daily Telegraph; Jan. 13, 1999; Alb. Mafia Crime wave in Milan
- Corriere della Serra, Oct. 15, 1998, Alb. Heroin-Mafia in Italy
- Corriere della Serra; Jan. 19, 1999; Alb-Mafia Crime ; Milan
- Reuters Jan., 1999; Albanian Refugee Smuggling Gang Recaptures Boats from
- AFP, June 9, 1998; Major Italian drug bust breaks Kosovo arms trafficking
- AFP, June 16, 1998; Kosovo Albanians arrested in Spain after hundreds of
- AP Madrid, June 16, 1998; Albanians arrested in Spain for Heroin - photo
- Wash Post, May 26, 1998; Albanian Americans Funding Rebels' Cause
- ALBANIAN@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU Albanian-Amer Fund Raising, 1998
- DEA NNCIA Report extract on Kos-Alb. Heroin Mafia, 1996
- Romania Libera; July 30, 1998; Balkan Drug Routes
- Kosovo Net --Heroin Roads
- Globe and Mail Nov. 9,. 1998; KLA on its War Crimes
- The Guardian; Sept. 30, 1998; Kanun Law & Vendetta,
- Dragan Ivetic- contributed files; The Guardian 1994; Albanian
- BBC 1992- Yugo Police Catch Albanians smuggling Heroin.
- Bob Djurdjevic -TiM, Nov. 1993; Washington Post Writes About Kosovo
Albanian Drug Clans
- Christ. Sci Monit. Oct. 20, 1994; Albanian Mafias Find New Drug Routes
- Czech-CTK, Aug. 1995; 2 KG Heroin Found
- Defense & Foreign Affairs' Strategic Policy; August 31, 1994; Albanian
- BBC, 1991 Yugo- Alb. Drug killings.Jan-June 91
- Int Herald-Trib; June 6, 1994; Balkans; Arms for Drugs
- The Independent; Dec. 10, 1993; Drug Profits fund Weapons
- Jane's Intelligence Review; Feb 1, 1995; Balkans Medellin
- San Francisco Chronicle; June 10, 1994, Drugs Pay for Conflict in Europe
- The Times October 18, 1994, Tuesday; Albanian mafias target drug
- WP/HC, Nov. 13, 1993; Merchants of death and drugs;
- Reuters, Feb. 12, 1999; UN, EU Launch $7.6 Anti-Drug Project in Balkans
- Chronicles Mag. Dec. 1998; Srdja Trifkovic, Cultural Revolutions- German
- Reuters, Feb. 14, 1999; West Doubts Ability to Influence KLA
- AFP, Feb. 20, 1999; AFP: Albanian-Americans help fund the KLA
- March 11-12, 1999; Czech News Reports on Rugova and Arrested Drug Lord
- Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 15, 1999; Italy battling a new wave of
criminals -- Albanians
- The Times, Mar. 24, 1999; Drugs Money Linked to Kosovo Rebels
- Washington Times, May 3, 1999; KLA Funding Tied To
- The Telegraph, May 5, 1999; MI6 Investigates KLA's Money Connections
- London Times, July 24, 1999; Kosovo is Mafia's 'heroin
gateway to West'
These articles demonstrate the widely understood connection between the
Kosovo Albanians, their heroin Mafia and the KLA insurrection in Kosovo of
1997-99. Articles date back to a 1985 Wall Street Journal account of Rudy
Giuliani --then Federal prosecutor in NYC-- prosecuting the Kosovo Mafia. That
article predates Mr. Milosevic's crackdown on the Kosovo Albanians by four
These articles are not yet in perfect chronological order; they start with a
1985 piece, continue with 1998-99 pieces, then add articles from the period
between 1990-97. One piece, #18, by Bob Djurdjevic, is a commentary on a
Washington Post piece from the vantage of an expert Serb-American skeptic of
both US and Yugoslav policies, depending on the issue. Finally, recent articles
including those dating during the recent air war (March 24- June 12, 1999) and
from the NATO occupation are included to document the ongoing illegal activity,
conducted under the noses of the armies of the West.
Note that I have also included an article (#15) from The Guardian,
dated Sept. 30, 1998, on Albanian vendetta murder as practiced today in Albania
and Kosovo. Here are some real "human rights abuses" not relating to "Serb
In February 1998, when the Yugoslav police crackdown on the KLA began, the US
State Department recognized the KLA as an international terrorist organization.
This means, among other things, that US residents are not allowed to contribute
funds, trade weapons or in any way support such organizations.
Not all fundraising is done through Drugs and robberies as a recent Agence
France Presse article of Feb. 20, 1999 reports.
Articles about the alliance between the KLA and Osama bin Laden are now in a
companion archive "KLA-Osama" at the SIRIUS website, along with an archive
Readers with a further interest in this subject are referred to a scholarly
article also filed in the archives:
Gus Xhudo; MEN OF PURPOSE: THE GROWTH OF ALBANIAN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY,
published in TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME; Published by Frank Cass
& Co. Ltd. (London) and The Ridgway Center for International Security
Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to be available
through: (www.pitt.edu/~rcss/ridgway.html). Volume 2, Spring 1996, Number 1, pp. 1-20 (ISSN 1357-7387). This
article is posted as a separate archive, Albanian-Mafia.
Benjamin C. Works
1. The Wall Street Journal, Monday, September 9, 1985, pp.1,18
By Anthony M. DeStefano
NEW YORK - The informant who visited the office of U.S. Attorney Rudolph W.
Giuliani last December had a chilling story to tell:
A defendant in a drug racketeering case that Mr. Giuliani was prosecuting was
offering $400.000 to anyone who would kill a certain assistant U.S. attorney and
a federal drug enforcement agent.
For 45 minutes Mr. Giuliani and his chief assistant, William Tendy, listened
to and evaluated the tale. Five other informants later corroborated it. The
threatened lawmen-assistant prosecutor Alan M. Cohen and narcotics agent Jack
Delmore-were given 24-hour-a-day protection by federal marshals.
For years police and court officials in Italy have had to deal with Maffia
attempts on their lives, some of which have succeeded. American gangsters have
rarely dared such crimes. But certain criminal groups in the U.S. now seem less
restrained. Mr. Giuliani says he has recently heard of more threats against
law-enforcement officers and judges around the country than at any other time in
his 15 years as a prosecutor. A number of his colleagues share that perception.
Mr. Giuliani says that he himself has heen threatened.
The "Balkan Connection"
The drug case that brought forth the threats Mr. Giuliani is concerned about
involved the disruption of the so-called "Balkan connectlon" heroin trade
conducted by among others a loosely orginised group of ethnic Albanians,
centered in New York. A federal probe into this drug traffic and other posslble
crimes, including the alleged plot to kill officials, is in progress. The drug
investigation and the criminal activities of small group of Albanian-Americans
have attracted little publicity.
Many Albanians came to the U.S. after World War II via Yugoslavia. Others
before the war, came directly from Albania. A small, mountainous Balkan country,
communist Albania is bordered on the west by the Adriatic Sea and on its other
boundries by Yugoslavia and Greece.
Conservative and industrious, many Albanian-Americans manage real estate and
run small businesses, living and working in decent obscurity. An estimated
100,000 live in the New York City area. Other Albanian communities are found in
Michigan, Massachusetts and Illinois.
But the small minority of Albanians who take to crime have created new and
unique problems for some law-enforcement officers around the country. Language
and a code of silence have protected the Albanian-American crime factions from
outside penetration. "They are real secretive" says a detective in Hamtramck,
Mich., a Detroit suburb where many Albanians live. He says police have tried but
failed to infiltrate Albanian gangs here.
Alabanian-Americans criminals, police say, are involved in everything from
gun-running to counterfeiting. In New York City, a police intelligence analyst
says, some ethnic Albanians living in the Bronx are involved in extortion and
robbery. Federal officials believe that Albanians run gambling in certain New
York ethnic clubs.
Violence within the Albanian community can be particularly brutal, whether
related to orginized crime or not. In Hamtramck, an Albanian, reportedly enraged
by the belief that his wife had contracted a veneral disease, shot three people
at a clinic and then killed himself. In some attacks, women have been slashed
with knives: crowded restaurants and bars have been raked with gunfire. "They're
a wild bunch of people," says Capt. Glen McAlpine of the Shelby Township, Mich.,
police. During an investigation of Albanian crime in Shelby, a bomb exploded
next to the police station. A police officer also was threatened, Capt. McAlpine
But it is drug trafficking that has gained Albanian organized crime the most
notoriety. Some Albanians, according to federal Drug Enforcement Agency
officials, are key traders in the "Balkan connection," the Istanbul-to-Belgrade
heroin route. While less well known than the so-called Sicilian and French
connections, the Balkan route in some years may move 25% to 40% of the U.S.
heroin supply, official say.
Ties to Turks
Once serving only as couriers, some ethnic Albanians and Yugoslavs now are
taking over more command of the traffic, says Andrew Fenrich, a DEA spokesman in
New York. Federal agents say that Balkan crime groups are well suited for
trafficking because of close historical and religious ties with the Turks, some
of whom are sources of heroin.
DEA agents say the heroin flows from Turkey through Bulgaria and Greece into
Yugoslavia. From there it can wind up in Rome, Brussels, The Hague and the U.S..
Once in America, the Balkan heroin is believed by officials to be distributed by
some ethnic Albanians and Turks. (Albania itself, long cut off from the most of
the world by its recently deceased leader Enver Hoxha, isn't believed by the
U.S. to be involved in the drug trade.)
On the surface, at least, Skender Fici seemed to be a law-abiding
businessman. He ran a Staten Island travel agency, Theresa Worldwide, which made
a specialty of booking trips to Yugoslavia, where many Albanlans live.
He became a specialist in handling immigration paper work, and he sponsored a
local ethnic Albanian soccer team.
According to federal prosecutors and a sentencing memorandum they filed in
Manhattan's Federal District Cortt, Mr. Fici's travel agency made a perfect
vehicle for arranging quick trips for drug dealers and couriers working the
Balkan connection. One of Mr. Fici's first shipments arrived in New York in
February 1979, according to the prosecutors' memo. A kilogram of heroin was
distributed in New York partly through the efforts of Xhevedet Lika, known as
Joey Lik, who made his base on New York City's polyglot Lower East Side.
There, according to the sentencing memorandum, Mr. Lika sold the drug to
other dealers from a social club located in the midst of Judaica shops and
Chinese clothing stores.
By 198O, according to federal court testimony and the sentencing report, Mr.
Lika was importing heroin as well as distributing it, traveling to Turkey and
Yugoslavia to arrange shipments. He also allegedly dealt in cocaine with
Xhevedet Mustafa, who disappeared in 1982. Mr. Mustafa had been a supporter, of
the late, deposed Albanian monarch King Zog, who died in 1961.
Mr. Mustafa skipped out before his own federal trial on drug charges could
take place in 1982. In September 1982, be reportedly led an unsuccesslul
invasion of Albania aimed at restoring the monarchy. Mr. Hoxha said the invaders
all were "liquidated" but Mr. Mustafa still is listed as a fugitive in federal
Mr. Lika, meanwhile, was expanding his heroin business In New York with other
associates, according to federal prosecutors. He had fallen out with one of his
old partners, Dujo Saljanin, who in 1991 had agreed to import several kilos of
heroin for Mr. Llka and others but short-weighted the delivery by a kilo. To
resolve the descrepancy, a January 1981 meeting was held at a Park Avenue South
restaurant Mr. Saljanin operated. Joey Lika and two other men, Mehmet Bici and
Vuksan Vulaj, were present. Mr. Bici later testified in federal court that Mr.
Vulaj pulled a gun and shot Mr. Saljanin.
"Mr. Lika had a gun, and he shot him, too," Mr. Bici testified. "I was there,
too, and I shot him too. And then we just left, crossed the street," he
Even with 13 bullet wounds, Mr. Saljanin lived a short while, long enough to
talk. Mr. Vulaj was later shotgunned to death. Hampered by lack of cooperation
in the Albanian community, as well as by difficultles with the Albanlan language
that made electronic surveillance useless, police and federal agents worked
about three years belore they broke the case in 1984.
Federal officials estimate that the group had imported more than 110 pounds
of heroin with a retall or "street" value of $125 million through the Balkan
connection before the ring was broken up. Federal agents believe the drugs had
been sold in New York, California, Texas and Illinois.
The trail that Mr. Delmore, the DEA agent, followed led to Mr. Bici, who was
then serving a sentence in a New York state prison for attempted manslaughter of
his wife. Questioned by Mr. Delmore, Mr. Bici at first denied having any
knowledge of drug dealing or the Saljanin murder but ultimately decided to
cooperate. He was indicted along wlth Joey Llka, Mr. Llka's brother Luan, Mr.
Fici and others on federal charges of drug dealing and racketeering. Luan Lika
was never arrested and remains a fugitive. Mr. Bici pleaded guilty to
transporting heroin and to racketeering. He was sentenced to eight years and is
serving time under guard in the "prisoner witness" protection program.
The atmosphere at the trial, which began late last year, was highly charged.
Early in the proceeding, Mr, Cohen, the prosecutor, mentioned that a witness
claimed to have been threatened with death by Mr. Lika's father.
(Judge Vincent Broderick kept Lika family spectators seated near the back of
Another witness reported that a man outside the Manhattan courthouse had
threatened her. Gjon Barisha, a prospective witness, fled before the trial,
after claiming that he had been fired at. He evaded federal agents for months
before being arrested on a material witness warrant last month. Others who were
to be called as witnesses hid out or refused to testify, prosecutor Cohen says,
because they feared, as one of them put it, "a bullet in the head." Prosecutors
allege that some witnesses perjured themselves at the trial.
Judge Broderick remarked during the trial that the case involved the most
reckless disregard for human life that he had ever seen. The message wasn't lost
on federal officials, who took the threats against them seriously.
Since World War II, there have been more than 800 revenge killings by
Albanians in Yugoslavia and several in New York, according to Dushan
Kosovich, a scholar who has studied Albanlan mores. Mr. Giuliani says of the
threat against Mr. Cohen: "This was the most serious threat I have seen yet to
an assistant U.S. attorney."
For three months from late 1984 into early 1985, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Delmore
and their wives shared their homes with federal marshals acting as bodyguards.
"You can't believe what it is like" says Mr. Cohen, who was guarded in
court-even when he went to the men's room.
A Jury this year convicted Joey Lika and Mr. Fici on charges of racketeering
conspiracy. Mr. Lika was also convicted of the more serious charge of running a
criminal enterprise. To emphasize to the defendants that their opponent was the
government, and not just Mr. Cohen, U S. Attorney Giuliani himself appeared in
court for the sentencing in March. Mr, Lika denied in court as sentence was
about to be rendered that he wanted anyone killed, and his attorney protested
the government's use of evidence from unnamed informants about the alleged
threats. Nevertheless, Mr. Lika was sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Fici to 80
years. They are appealing their convictions.
Mr. Giuliani refuses to discuss detalls, but he says he has learned recently
that there had been an effort to fulflll an assassination contract against him
and Messrs. Cohen and Delmore. "After you have been convicted," he says, "there
is no rational reason to klll a prosecutor, except revenge."
While Mr. Giuliani says he now considers the threat against himself "minor,"
DEA agent Delmore and his famlly have moved-away from New York. Prosecutor Cohen
is still investigating other drug dealers in New York but he, too, has a new
Federal officials aren't sure how much lasting damage they have done to the
Balkan connection. Mr. Cohen says the Lika case and others, prosecuted by local
authorities, have resulted in the conviction of more than 10 Albanian-American
drug traffickers, and that has got to have some impact.
Mr. Fenrich, the DEA spokesman, says that the Lika case made it clear that
vendettas against law enforcers won's be tolerated.
As for Joey Llka, prison may be the safest place for him. Because he
testified about his part in the Saljanin killing, federal agents say he now is
"in the blood" - that is, the object of a vendetta - with relatives of Mr.
2. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 13th January 1999, page 13
Crisis talks as Milan is hit by wave of killings
Italy's Prime Minister, Massimo D'Alema held crisis talks with police and
local officials in Milan yesterday to try to restore order to a city that has
seen nine murders so far this year.
The government has deployed an extra 800 police and 90 patrol cars to
Milan as a stopgap measure to ease the "crime emergency".
Diego Masi, an Interior Ministry under-secretary, blamed the Albanian
mafia, which has entered the city on a tide of illegal immigrants. An official
report puts the Albanians top among foreign crime organizations. It says they
concentrate on drugs and prostitution. Their lack of Western moral values allows
them to settle scores with appalling coldness, often murdering people in crowded
streets and bars.
Bruce Johnston, Rome........"
Translated from Italian.
3. Corriere della Sera (Milan) 15 October 1998
Albanian Mafia, This Is How It Helps The Kosovo Guerrilla Fighters
Report by Roberto Ruscica
Drugs traffickers in Italy, in Germany, in Spain, in France, and in Norway:
Kosovo Albanians. The men from the Special Operations Section [ROS] of the
carabinieri, under the leadership of General Mario Mori, have succeeded in
neutralizing a fully fledged network of Albanian drugs traffickers. The leader
of this network is a certain Gashi Agim, aged 33, originally from
Pristina, the capital of the small region that is being torn apart by the
struggle between on the one hand the local population, 90 percent of whom are of
Albanian ethnic origin and who are calling for independence from Serbia, and
[Yugoslav government] on the other... Married to an Italian girl, Gashi Agim was
living in a luxurious villa just outside Milan. The owner of a chain of beauty
parlors and of perfume shops in London, Gashi was arrested early this summer
along with 124 drugs traffickers.
"Milan at this juncture has become a crossroads of interests for many
fighting groups," a detective with the ROS explained. "These groups include also
the Albanians from Kosovo who are among the most dangerous traffickers in drugs
and in arms. They are determined men, violent and prepared to go to any lengths.
They are capable of coming up with men and arms in a matter of hours. They have
deep roots in civil society. They love luxury, fashionable clubs, and
restaurants. They have an astonishing amount of ready cash at their disposal.
Every night, to keep in practice, they burgle apartments and businesses, moving
from one city in Lombardy to the next."
Investigations have shown that Italy is the most important base for
these organizations and it is precisely in Milan that negotiations between the
Kosovar bosses and those of the Tirana- based Albanian gangs take place. And
Milan, again, is the theater in which exchanges with our own domestic crime
bosses take place. According to detectives, the 'Ndrangheta receives and parcels
out some 50 kilograms of heroin every day. And it is precisely by following this
drug trail that the detectives have succeeded in discovering a fully fledged
organization with ramifications throughout Europe: Groups have been identified
that operate in France, in Switzerland, in Spain, in Germany, and in Norway. But
the real brains behind this network are reportedly located in Italy.
The ROS officer, who is unable to reveal his identity, told me: "In
Bratislava and in Budapest we have pinpointed storehouses capable of containing
thousands of kilograms of heroin. Also, we recently seized a huge quantity of
very pure cocaine. That means that the Albanian traffickers may well have
refineries available to them and that therefore the drugs do not arrive ready
prepared from Latin America. In certain East European countries the drugs
traffickers can act undisturbed, and in some cases they actually enjoy the
protection of the authorities and of the police forces. It is precisely for that
reason," the detective concluded, "that a number of our missions have ended in
But many names, links, and operative methods have, on the other hand,
been discovered. The transportation of the drugs, for example, is habitually
entrusted to German organizations: cars with tanks capable of containing 20
kilograms of drugs, or long-haul trucks with "cover" loads that cross the
Austrian border to reach Milan.
The war in Kosovo has partly slowed down the criminals' business
because many Albanians have been forced to take care of their families. Some of
them are activists in the armed movement of the KLA fighters and have gone home
to fight. They feel Albanian. They are fighting to achieve annexation to
Albania. And it is precisely there that at least a part of the sea of money that
the Albanian drugs traffickers have amassed is reported to have ended up, to
support the families and to fund both certain political personalities and the
anti-Serb movement. In spring, a number of Albanian drugs traffickers actually
went as far as to take part in the organization of a rally in favor of
independence for Kosovo.
And quite a number of people wanted for ordinary offenses marched past
the US Embassy in Rome waving their banners and handing out leaflets.
Drugs, arms, and the Koran: Could this be the murderous crime mix of
the next few years? "That is the picture that one can draw on the basis of our
investigations," the ROS agents maintain. "A few years ago the Milan drugs
market was run by the Turks. They were unscrupulous traffickers who would go to
any lengths to satisfy the 'Ndrangheta bosses. Then, in 1996, the torch passed
to the Albanians without any bloodshed." They share the Islamic religion with
their Turkish confreres. An unmistakable sign is the month of Ramadan: In those
weeks the traffickers close down the drug market.
"That is exactly right. But the Albanians have a particularly
aggressive attitude. On the basis of phone calls that we have intercepted, we
have discovered that the drugs are not only a source of wealth but also a tool
in the struggle to weaken Christendom."
General Mori's men got to the Albanian drugs traffickers by following
the 'Ndrangheta. And they maintain that the headquarters of the criminal
operations is located in Calabria. Milan is apparently only an important
business center. But it is seemingly the bosses in Africo, in Plati, and in
Bovalino who order the purchase of drugs and of arms. And organized crime's
arsenal is said to be located in the Aspromonte region of Calabria: bazookas
rifles with telescopic sights, submachine-guns, hand grenades. "The 'Ndrangheta
is different from other Mafia-style organizations," the ROS agents maintain. "It
has only one objective: business. And in order to make the biggest profit it is
prepared to forge alliances with anybody: with the Moroccans, with the
Egyptians, with the Turks. The Calabrian bosses are not interested in
controlling the Milanese territory. And sure enough the Albanian gangs are free
to run the prostitution racket without any interference."
4. Corriere della Sera (Milan) Janury 19, 1999
CRIMES COMMITTED IN ITALY PROVIDE FUNDS FOR KOSOVO GUERRILLAS By
Milan -- As long as he was able, until the Milan district Anti-Mafia
Directorate and the Carabinieri ROS [Special Operations Group] locked him in a
solitary isolation cell, Agim Gashi -- the 35-year-old criminal boss from
Pristina, king of the Milan drugs market -- supplied his brothers in Kosovo
with Kalashnikov rifles, bazookas, and hand grenades. He controlled the
heroin market, and at least part of the billions of lire he made from it was
used to buy weapons for the "resistance" movement of the Albanian Kosovo
Conversations monitored by ROS, on file with so-called "Operation
Africa," contain recollections of his established reign. Gashi spoke in
Serbo-Croat with his men and with the Turkish-route heroin suppliers. That is,
the language of the Serbian "enemy," of the hated Orthodox religion. The one
against which he rallied his Muslim brothers. He is known to have made a
telephone call to encourage Turkish heroin suppliers during Ramadan -- a
violation of religious rules for the sake of a more important cause: "to
submerge Christian infidels in drugs."
With Gashi's arrest, the ethnic Albanian Kosovar clans' rule in Milan has
apparently not come to an end. The old 'Ndrangheta families, the Mafia "dozens"
["decine" -- traditional groupings], and the old Egyptian "lords" depend on the
new masters of the drug market, acknowledging their authority. In any case, the
route is secure. From Turkey, via Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania, it reaches
Germany, and from there, Italy. On board trucks or regular cars, it supplies
heroin from East to West. On the return trip it has to ensure the invisibility
of profits totaling billions of lire. These are needed to buy weapons in
Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania for the Kosovo resistance.
5. Albanian Gang Recaptures Boats Seized by Police
VLORE, Albania, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Albanian gang members involved in the
smuggling of illegal immigrants to Italy recaptured six speedboats on Saturday
after police had seized them the previous day, witnesses said. Albanian and
Italian police had mounted a joint operation to bring the boats to an island off
the port of Vlore on Friday night as part of efforts to stem a steady flow of
migrants across the Adriatic Sea. Six men were arrested.
Angry gang-members blocked the main road along the coast on Saturday morning
and, when Vlore police chief Sokol Kociu came to negotiate with them, he was
roughed up and taken to Sazan island where the boats were moored.
"A group of armed smugglers blocked the main road by the coast this morning,"
a Vlore resident told Reuters by telephone. "The Vlore police chief tried to
negotiate with them but they insulted and assaulted him." Once on Sazan, the
gang members reclaimed their property and released the police chief.
Albania, Europe's poorest country, has experienced periodic violence since
the collapse of communism in 1991. At least half a million weapons were looted
from army barracks during months of chaos in 1997 and many outlying regions are
Vlore was the centre of a 1997 revolt that followed the collapse of
fraudulent pyramid investment schemes, which eventually toppled the former
Democratic Party government and brought to power a Socialist-led coalition.
Police, who were backed by troops, did not intervene in Saturday's standoff.
The situation in the town was otherwise quiet.
Ethnic Albanians fleeing the conflict in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, as
well as Kurdish refugees, use Albania as a springboard for entering southern
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.
6. Major Italian drug bust breaks Kosovo arms trafficking
Tue, 9 Jun 1998 14:16:15 PDT
Copyright 1998 by Agence France-Presse
MILAN, Italy, June 9 (AFP) - A group of Kosovo Albanians smuggling arms back
to their troubled province were among 100 people arrested in a massive,
countrywide anti-drug operation in Italy, police here said Tuesday.
All the 100 -- 90 of whom were arrested in Italy, the rest in other
European countries -- face weapons charges related to international drug
Anti-Mafia prosecutors in Milan, who conducted the operation with
paramilitary police units, identified eight criminal structures active on an
One hundred kilos (220 pounds) of heroin and cocaine was seized in the
bust across several Italian regions. Investigators said the groups used Milan as
a base, with cafes, restaurants, garages and other firms acting as fronts.
The Kosovar Albanian gang allegedly used drug money to buy the weapons
in Italy, which were then sent to Kosovo where a three-month conflict is pitting
Serbian forces against armed ethnic Albanians seeking independence.
Another separate group of Egyptians with links to Calabrian and Albanian
gangs were arrested on suspicions of laundering money through Switzerland for
use by fundamentalists in Egypt.
One of the arrest warrants was issued against Assan Ashraf, an Egyptian
businessman who owns a textile company in Milan and a mineral water export firm
He had been previously arrested in 1996 by the Italian secret service for
suspected terrorist activities but was released three days later after diplomats
intervened, the investigators said.
7. Subject: Kosovo Albanians arrested in Spain after hundreds of
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 13:35:21 PDT
Copyright 1998 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
MADRID, June 16 (AFP) - More than 50 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo were
arrested Tuesday on suspicion of membership in an international ring of robbers,
Spanish police said. The arrested are suspected of having committed nearly 1,000
break-ins and robberies in apartments and companies in a number of Spanish
regions and of laundering money from the robberies in Germany.
Police arrested 58 people including three suspected ringleaders in
Madrid and Barcelona. German police detained another suspect in Berlin and was
said to have asked for three bank accounts to be blocked. The identity of those
arrested was not immediately known. The suspects face charges of forming a
criminal gang, illegal residence, money laundering, drug trafficking and fraud.
Police would not rule out that more arrests would be made as the swoop
continued Tuesday afternoon.
8. AP: MADRID, SPAIN, 16-JUN-1998: In this image taken from police video, an
unidentified suspect of a criminal gang member from the Yugoslavian province of
Kosovo is placed into a police vehicle in Madrid Tuesday, June 16, 1998. Spanish
police on Tuesday arrested over 70 members of the criminal gang they believed to
be from the embattled Yugoslavian province. Most of the suspects, arrested on
suspicion of drug smuggling, money laundering and robbery, carried false
identity documents but were known to be from Kosovo, a police spokesman said.
[Photo by Police, AP]
9. Albanian Americans Funding Rebels' Cause
By Stacy Sullivan
Special to The Washington Post Tuesday, May 26, 1998; Page A12
BROOKLYN, N.Y.-A photograph hanging above the entrance to a Brooklyn
construction company shows a young man in a white T-shirt with an AK-47 assault
rifle slung across his chest and a pistol tucked into his pants.
The young man, Adrian Krasniqi, 25, was a member of the Kosovo Liberation
Army, a group of Albanian rebels fighting for independence in Kosovo, a Serbian
province whose inhabitants are 90 percent ethnic Albanian. According to his
uncle, who owns the construction company here, Krasniqi was killed last October
during an attack on a Serbian police position in Kosovo.
The company owner, a 32-year-old Albanian American who emigrated to the
United States in 1989, has been supporting the rebel group part-time since 1994,
before most of the world knew of its existence. But since his nephew's death, he
said, he spends almost all his time organizing Albanian American support for the
guerrilla movement, which he hopes will turn into a force capable of fighting
the Yugoslav Army.
The contractor, who also is named Krasniqi but who did not want his first
name used, is not alone in his quest. His fund-raising efforts in the United
States, as well as those of Albania immigrants in Europe, have increased
steadily over the past few months. According to diplomatic and other observers
with experience in the region, the money thus assembled has helped the rebels
get arms and smuggle them into Kosovo over routes through Albania, Macedonia and
Partly as a result, the once obscure group of rural militants has become an
increasingly visible guerrilla insurgency that Western diplomats fear could
erupt into a war with the potential to engulf the southern Balkans.
Krasniqi said his efforts to raise money for the KLA in the United States
were not very successful at first. Between 300,000 and 500,000 Albanian
Americans live in the United States, clustered mainly in New York, Detroit,
Chicago and Boston. But almost all supported Ibrahim Rugova, who leads a
peaceful independence movement and has set up a shadow government.
After the Dayton peace accords for Bosnia were signed, however, more and more
Albanians in Europe and the United States became disillusioned with Rugova's
peaceful struggle and began shifting their support to the Kosovo Liberation
Army. Now many of Rugova's biggest donors are supporting the KLA. Their support
ranges from contributing money, to signing up volunteers to fight, to arranging
shipments of humanitarian aid and weapons.
"I loved Rugova and his ideals," said Ramiz Hoti, 33, a waiter in a New York
restaurant who came to the United States in 1983. "But what has it brought us?
Nothing! The only way now is to fight."
Hoti, a former prisoner in Kosovo, said he has registered as a volunteer to
fight with the KLA and gives the group $300 a week. His brother, Hariz Hoti, a
36-year-old construction worker from the Bronx, has already left for Kosovo to
join the KLA, he added.
Supporters of the Kosovo rebels have set up a fund, "Home Land Calling,"
which has a bank account at People's Bank in Bridgeport, Conn. KLA supporters in
Europe have set up "Home Land Calling" accounts in Sweden, Italy, Belgium and
Canada. The bank names and account numbers are advertised in Albanian newspapers
printed in Europe.
"There is absolutely no doubt that the fund-raising of the KLA supporters in
the U.S. and Europe is funding the KLA. All the money in Kosovo, not only for
the arms, but for everything, comes from abroad," said Tiho Loza, associate
editor of Transitions, a monthly journal specializing in east European
KLA meetings and fund-raisers mostly take place in Albanian-run restaurants.
They are emotional and well-attended events. On April 20, the KLA held a
fund-raiser at Bruno's, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan where a teenager from
Drenice gave an emotional speech about the deaths of his teacher and several
students, who were killed in a Serbian attack on his village. More than 150
Albanians from all over the country attended the event.
Many wrote checks; others donated in cash. One young Albanian, who asked that
his name be withheld for fear his contribution might hurt his private business,
"Everything I've got, I'll give to these guys," said Jesse Musliu, a
45-year-old mechanic who flew in from Alaska for the event. "I'll mortgage my
house again if I have to."
The once secret fund-raisers are now held openly and advertised in the weekly
Albanian American newspaper Illyria, based in the Bronx. The most recent issue
advertised a kick-boxing tournament in Waterbury, Conn., at an Albanian-run
martial arts studio. The $10 entrance fees were earmarked for the KLA.
Krasniqi said that from $3 million to $4 million has been raised in the
United States. Albanians who support the rebel army displayed receipts of money
transfers of more than $500,000 to banks and individuals in Albania since
December, as well as several briefcases of cash they said was bound for
According to John Russell, a Justice Department spokesman, U.S. law does not
bar contributing money to an insurgent army, or fighting in one, unless that
army is listed as a terrorist group by the State Department.
State Department officials pointed out, however, that any Americans caught
smuggling arms into Kosovo would be violating an international arms embargo
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
10.From: thomas coonan <tcoonan@EMAIL.UNC.EDU
Subj: [ALBANIAN] $ for KLA
Date: 7 ???? 1998 ?. 18:50 [Albanian characters]
______________Albanian Discussion List________________________
Because of recent developments on the battlefield, I believe that, of
necessity, the KLA (UCK) will conduct a more guerrilla-style campaign from now
on. It is nearly impossible to hold onto territory if you are fighting an enemy
armed with all kinds of heavy weapons while you have mainly just light ones.
But, as we learned in Vietnam, guerilla fighters can often be victorious. Serbia
is so weak financially that it cannot sustain a protracted guerrilla war.
The main thing is to keep the money flowing to the KLA. Since Germany and
Switzerland have cracked down (shamelessly) on KLA bank accounts there, it is
imperative that people in America increase their financial support on this side.
For those new, English-speaking members of the List who may not have heard, the
organizatioin known as "Vendlindja therret" is collecting funds for the KLA.
Their US account number is: 0617008215. Check can be mailed to: People's
Bank, 328 Shippan Ave., Stamford, CT 06902-6014. Remember, the KLA is the ONLY
one standing between the Albanian population and the Serb-government killing
Sincerely, Thomas Coonan
11. NATIONAL NARCOTICS INTELLIGENCE CONSUMERS COMMITTEE (NNICC) THE
NNICC REPORT 1996
The Supply of Illicit Drugs to the United States
The NNICC Report is produced annually for the use of NNICC member agencies
and other entities and individuals interested in this subject. Comments and
queries are welcome and may be addressed to the:
Drug Enforcement Administration
ATTN: Intelligence Division
Washington, DC 20537
Heroin was shipped from Turkey primarily to European countries and, to a much
smaller extent, the United States. Bulk heroin shipments destined for European
markets were transported along a combination of numerous land and sea routes
collectively known as the Balkan Route. Smaller quantities destined for the
United States were shipped directly, or transshipped through Europe. The Balkan
Route encompasses highways running from Turkey through Greece, Bulgaria, the
former Yugoslavia, Romania, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and Hungary, to
Austria, Germany, and Italy, as well as ferry routes between Greece and Italy.
From Italy, heroin shipments were routed to markets elsewhere in Western Europe.
Nigerian heroin smugglers in Italy sought out U.S. servicemen based there to
act as couriers bringing heroin from Turkey to Italy or distribution there and
elsewhere in Europe. Seventy-five percent of the heroin seized in Europe in
recent years, however, was transported by way of the Balkan Route. Significant
1996 seizures of heroin en route from Turkey to Western Europe included 190
kilograms seized in January by Turkish police from a tractor-trailer bound for
Germany; 217 kilograms of heroin seized in May by Italian authorities from a
truck aboard a passenger ferry that arrived in Venice, Italy, from Izmir; and 65
kilograms seized in June by German customs authorities from a truck that had
arrived from Turkey by way of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria.
Drug trafficking organizations composed of ethnic Albanians from Serbia's
Kosovo Province were considered to be second only to Turkish groups as the
predominant heroin smugglers along the Balkan Route. These groups were
particularly active in Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), and Serbia. Kosovan traffickers were noted for their use of violence
and for their involvement in international weapons trafficking. There is
increasing evidence that ethnic criminals from the Balkans are engaged in
criminal activities in the United States and some of that activity involves
theft of licit pharmaceutical products for illicit street distribution.
12. Subj: Albanian Terrorists of KLA Pay Weapon in Heroin
Date: 99-02-02 17:14:11 EST
July 30, 1998.
ALBANIAN TERRORISTS OF KLA PAY WEAPON IN HEROIN
By Vladimir Alexe
The weapon traffic routes
According to the experts, the region of Kosovo has in the last years become
the real stepping stone of the weapon traffic, not only for the Balkans, but
also for the entire Europe. Prishtina, Podujevo, Pec and other places are the
centre of the international routes' cross-roads used by the traders. The
experienced weapon traffickers consider the
Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija as the people with whom big deals can be
closed. The first "channel" used by the Albanian weapon traffickers was, as
understood, the Yugoslav route, the surplus of weapon from the former Yugoslav
republics to be more precise. But the Albanians from Kosovo had soon formed
several other secret channels for the weapon traffic, in the direction of
Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark.
The Slovenian border crossing "Sentilj" was proclaimed by the weapon
traffickers as the "ideal border crossing". Albania provides a special channel
for smuggling the weapon into Kosovo, but the traffickers consider it "risky"
because of the numerous Serbian Army units stationed at the border between the
two countries and the (counter) attack of the snipers or Serbian guns, well
camouflaged within the zone. The latest addition to the weapon market is China,
practising the "dumping" policy in this field and, for example, offers rifles
for just 200 DM at the black market. Turk's Mafia and Albanian's heroin
In principle, the weapon black market in Kosovo is in stable "mobility". So,
the traditional "kalashnykov" can be bought at the prices of 700 to 1700 DM (the
only acceptable currency). "Papovka" costs 600-800 DM and the revolvers could be
bought at 400 to 700 DM. Grenades and mines are 30 DM a piece, almost a symbolic
price. In the recent years the European Union recorded the fact that the Turk's
Mafia is bringing in weapon galore to Kosovo and Sandzak, through Bulgaria and
The interesting matter is that the Albanian terrorists grouped into the
so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, pay for the weapon not only in German marks
but in heroin, as well. In 1994, the European Union seated in Brussels,
published a report based upon a study of drug traffic routes in Europe,
identifying the well-organised Albanian traffickers from Macedonia and from
Kosovo, who paid for the smuggling of weapon in heroin. The weapons provided in
this matter were handed over to the Albanian terrorist groups, fighting for the
separation of Kosovo from the FR of Yugoslavia. The European Union report
stated:" The recent larger quantities of heroin were recorded in Switzerland,
Germany, Italy and Greece, and the investigation proved that these quantities
come from the centers like Prishtina (Kosovo), Skopje (Macedonia) and Shkoder
(Albania). The Yugoslav army storage of weapons did not go unnoticed by the
Albanian traffickers from Kosovo. The Albanians-Moslems broke into the weapon
storages in Raska and Novi Pazar, and took out (as in September 1997) automatic
guns large quantities of explosives, tens of mortars and thousands of
ammunition. Just one of these "breakings in" the quantity of weapon taken was
worth about 1000 DM in the black market.
"Those in possession of the Balkans, especially Kosovo and Metohija, control
the stability of the entire Europe"
The Albanian terrorism and separatism obscures the geopolitical and the
strategic dimension known only by some. In the offices of the Great, the Balkans
is considered to have the deciding role of the stability or instability of
Europe. Within this context, Kosovo and Macedonia seem to be in possession of
keys of stability in the Balkans. The date of origin of the Albanian separatist
terrorism is not, as believed, recent. In 1991 in Kosovo and Metohija around 200
Albanian terrorist attacks were registered, against the police officers but
against the civilians as well. Since the very beginning, among the terrorists'
civilians-victims were the Albanians, too, their only guilt being their respect
of law and not supporting the terrorist actions. But all the terrorist actions
are not committed by the Albanians from the "Kosovo Liberation Army" and "The
National Movement for Kosovo". Both terrorist organisations are positioned in
Switzerland and both are considered by the experts as the main sponsors of the
terrorist operations in Kosovo and Metohija. The main goal of the Albanian
terrorist is not only the separation of the Kosovo Province from the FR of
Yugoslavia, but the "ethnic cleansing" particularly. Ibrahim Rugova himself,
seen as a moderate and opponent of the secessionist ideas, says to Spiegel:
"Kosovo will belong to those ones who will stay there", and thus discreetly
creating, beside terrorism and separatism, a deceitful geopolitical and
geostrategical design. It gives the control Kosovo a different dimension: the
Province is the "key" of stability in the Balkans, and the Balkans are the "Key"
to the stability of the entire Europe (and not only the south east Europe, as
Those ones in possession of Kosovo and Metohija, control the stability or the
instability of Europe. The involvement of all the great powers in the zone
(including China) not seems quite justified. To own the "key" to peace or war in
the Old Continent is not a small matter. "Phantom Government" of the so-called
Kosovo Republic -still unrecognised by any state - has its seat in Ulm near
Bonn, in Germany. The leader of this phantom "republic" - Buyar Bukoshi -
receives significant "donations", later to be deposited in the Swiss banks or
secret safes. Bukoshi himself, with his family, lives in Ulm. Meaning, far away
from the bloodshed in Kosovo. Contrary to the leader, Ibrahim Rugova, who has
not left the region and is looking forward to the US State Department support.
In 1997, the Carnegie Foundation" invited Rugova to USA and introduced him to
the public through mass media in the right way. If Bukoshi is "the Germany man",
Rugova is "the American man". In practice, in the background of the bloody scene
of Kosovo protagonists, the interests of one or the other great power can be
discerned. The region of Kosovo being the geostrategic area of extreme
importance to Europe, the "former Kosovo" could be later mentioned in other
cases as well in connection with the ethnic separatism in Europe. Renowned
13. HEROIN ROADS
On 2 April 1998, police control at the Gosevo border crossing point revealed
11 kilos of heroin worth 14 million Deutschmarks on the street (on aggregate),
hidden in the boot of the car of a 53-year old Albanian woman.
In May 1998, Lausanne police arrested one Musa Rifat Salemani of Pozarenje
village in Kosovo. His group of criminals imported as much as half a tonne of
heroine into Switzerland between 1992 and 1995.
What happens to millions of Deutschmarks and Swiss franks earned by the
Albanian mafia from this death trade throughout Europe?
ROUTES OF TERRORISM, NARCOTIC DRUGS AND ARMS ARE CLOSELY INTERTWINED - BEHIND
IT ALL STANDS MONEY AND POWER THAT MONEY CAN BUY
The main drug routes connecting Turkey with Western Europe go through the
Balkan region. These routes have always been "busy", but not as busy as in the
last couple of years. Police are well aware of the key points on the "Balkan
drug route", such as Gostivar (Macedonia) and Tropoia (Albania), transit points
for scores of international transport (TIR-carnet) trucks. In Kumanovo, just
beside the motorway, there is a barracks housing a state-of the art heroin
processing facility. The necessary inputs come from a factory near the border
with Greece that was built by the Germans. The main headquarters of drug dealers
is a trendy spot - Grand Hotel in Skopje (Macedonia).
However, Albania is the biggest Balkan money laundering and illicit drugs
centre. The pyramid schemes, which triggered the bloody political riots in
Albania in 1997, were, in fact, a front to channel in the drug money legally
(State Department Report). a political mess in that country has made it possible
for the drug mafia to develop the business on an unprecedented scale. Last year
alone, about 200 kilos of pure heroin entered Albania. The Albanian drug mafia
is in close contact with many Albanian expatriates throughout Europe and the
United States, precisely through the Kosovo Albanian drug mafia. Indeed, Kosovo
is the seat of one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world - the Camilla
drug cartel which is responsible for drug dealing across Western Europe. A huge
chunk of the proceeds of the drug business goes to Kosovo to meet the needs of
the "Kosovo Liberation Army" ("KLA") terrorist organization, namely to buy
weapons for them.
According to police sources, the Albanians of Kosovo and Metohija hold sway
over 80 per cent of drug (heroin) trade in Europe. At least half the countries
of Europe have a network of individual drug dealers connected to the suppliers
in Kosovo. The largest quantities of heroin confiscated in Germany, Switzerland,
Italy and Greece come in via Skopje (Macedonia), Shkoder (Albania) and Prishtina
(Kosovo). Several groups of Kosovo Albanians work together with Turkish Kurds
and jointly acquire drugs coming to Turkey from Afghanistan. This involves huge
amounts of this deadly powder from which dealers reap millions of
[The] Albanian mafia is one of the most powerful drug mafias worldwide,
primarily thanks to its clan-like organization and an infinite brutality of its
members that ensures an absolute unity. Fear makes the tissue of this lethal
organism. Terrible fear ensures silence and an unquestionable loyalty in the
mafia ranks. Albanian mafia members live modestly and in awe. Only the top
bosses live in grand style. Where does all that money go? The Albanian mafia
spends the bulk of its drug money in Italy on arms intended for Albanian and
Kurdish separatists. According to European criminal police authorities, the
money earned from heroin in Western Europe is transferred to Kosovo, notably to
Veliki Trnovac, a place considered to be the drug peddling centre. Heads of
Kosovo dealer groups are all men coming from the same area and directly working
for the terrorist Kosovo National Front, whose armed wing is "KLA". They use the
heroin money and the "laundered" money to fund "KLA" terrorist actions and the
separatist Albanian parties in Kosovo.
14. THE GLOBE AND MAIL, Monday, November 9, 1998 International News;
UNREPENTANT KLA DISMISSES ACCUSATIONS
Kosovo rebels unlikely to co-operate with probe by Canadian war-crimes
Special to The Globe and Mail
The Kosovo Liberation Army does not consider itself guilty of war
crimes, and is unlikely to co-operate with the International War Crimes Tribunal
in The Hague, sources in the rebel group say.
The issue of bringing to justice those responsible for the hundreds of deaths
in the fractious Serbian province this year stalled last week when Yugoslav
authorities in Belgrade barred the tribunalās chief prosecutor, Canadaās Louise
Arbour, from visiting Kosovo. The KLA warned over the weekend that it, too, is
equally unlikely to help Ms. Arbour and her investigators.
Sources in the rebel group, who asked not to be identified, have
admitted that many of the KLAās victims ö both Serb and ethnic Albanians deemed
loyal to Belgrade ö endured brutal deaths. One fighter said that two Serb police
officers captured in the western village of Glogane were executed by being
dragged behind cars, and that bodies of Yugoslav army soldiers were gratuitously
Although the ethnic Albanians generally encourage international involvement
in the Kosovo crisis, the KLA sources said there was little point in trying to
bring the often ill-disciplined local command structure of the KLA to heel. "In
a way I think what we did was helpful ö it made the Serbs think again before
repeating their massacres," said one man, who described how the police officersā
bodies were decapitated as they were dragged behind cars driven by young rebels
"in some sort of show" organized by a village rebel chief.
"Itās not something the KLA favours and not something that is usually done,"
he said. "But you must understand that these policemen had a long history of
physically mistreating local people. People involved in conflicts like this know
the risks they run."
Belgrade has argued that Kosovo is an internal crisis, not a war, so there is
no reason for Ms. Arbour and her investigators to become involved. Observers
suspect that behind the refusal to let the Hague team in (and one of the reasons
international sanctions against Yugoslavia remain) is a fear that senior police
and army personnel could face indictments, and that even Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic might be vulnerable.
U.S. war-crimes envoy David Scheffer criticized the visa decision, which also
bars the tribunalās president, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, from travelling to
Kosovo. "In the UN Security Council, there is unanimous consent of all its
members that investigators have full authority to do their job in Kosovo," Mr.
Scheffer noted Saturday.
So far, Belgrade has only allowed a team of Finnish forensic experts to
examine grave sites in Kosovo. One of Serbiaās senior forensic pathologists,
however, has publicly advocated that international teams be allowed to
investigate all deaths in Kosovo, and the evidence they gather be sent to The
"Iāll continue to ask for experts to come," said Zoran Stankovic, senior
pathologist at Belgradeās military hospital and Yugoslaviaās only UN-accredited
Mr. Stankovic accused the Serbian media of grossly distorting some incidents
where Serbs have been killed, but also said authorities had failed to bring home
the brutality of the KLA and its methods to the foreign press.
15. The Guardian 30th September 1998; Main Section page 15
Thousands of Albanian children in hiding to escape blood feuds.
Vengeance of the most direct kind is making a comeback in the wild north of
Albania, Owen Bowcott in Shkoder reports
GJIN Mekshi is a school teacher and a man of "good reputation". His flat is
decorated with icons of the Virgin Mary. His calling involves reconciling
vendettas and bloodfeuds.
In a cramped fifth floor flat looking out on Albania's semi-lawless northern
mountains, he deplores the spread of violence and the lack of respect for
traditional codes of behaviour.
As a leading member of the Shkoder-based Committee for Blood Reconciliation,
he works within a moral framework devised by a tribal chieftain excommunicated
for his "most un-Christian code".
The 15th century kanun (code) of Lek Dukagjini which regulates revenge
killings to preserve the honour of the clan, or fis has been revived in
northern Albania since the demise of communism. Up to 6,000 children are said to
be in hiding from blood feuds.
But the code's harsh justice is no longer being respected. "The kanun
is a good way for resolving arguments, but not in the way most people interpret
it as always ending in killings,'! Mr Mekshi explains.
"The code doesn't allow women to be killed, but there have been cases in
Tropoje [on the Kosovo border] this year where women have been forced into
hiding by death threats.
"In some families there are no men left. So far no women have been killed."
Modern reproductions of the kanun are on sale in the Tirana's
kiosks. Its author is thought to be Lek Dukagjin, Lord of Dagmo and Zadrima, who
fought the Turks until 1472, then fled to Italy. His intention was to limit the
cycles of bloodletting among the mountain tribps which sometimes destroyed
entire communities by enabling a council of tribal elders to arrange a
besa, or truce once honour had been obtained.
Enver Hoxha's regime suppressed it. But the privatisation of land,
which reopened ancient disputes, and the breakdown of law and order last year,
when Albania's armouries were looted, have encouraged direct retribution.
"Since the committee was set up in 1991 we have resolved 365 cases in
Albania and 38 feuds abroad," Mr Mekshi records. "One feud has been running for
more than 80 years.
"Sometimes the vendettas start through killings or land disputes but
they also begin with a fight over a drink or a car accident. Usually it's a
killing for a killing, a beating for a beating. The kanun doesn't specify
how killings should be carried out, but if you mutilate a victim's face, attack
him from behind or kill him after you gave your word not to, the bad blood comes
back to you.
"Within the first 24 hours you may kill anyone from the clan to which
the person who carried out the initial killing belonged-but not a woman. After
that you can kill a member of the family. After a year, it must be only the
murderer or whoever lives in his house."
The Committee of Blood Reconciliation has 3,000 members in Albania and
is pressing the government to accept its arbitrations as part of the legal
"I have a good reputation and my father was a man of good reputation,
too," says Mr Mekshi. "I am approached to arrange truces by those who are in
hiding and dare not go out during the day. When we agree a deal, we sanctify the
arrangement with a procession led by the local priest."
A mutual friend informed me that you are seeking detailed information on the
KLA and it's roots in the Drug cartels and ideology. I am enclosing some
articles which I have researched for another project, in the hope that they will
be of some use to you. They involve the KLA's link to terrorism and the Osama
Bin Laden connection, as well as the Drug Mafia links·
Dragan Ivetic - University of Illinois, College of Law
16. The Guardian (London)
November 1, 1994
THE GUARDIAN FOREIGN PAGE; Pg. 12
ALBANIAN DRUG BARONS FIND THEIR WAY AROUND THE WAR;
The Yugoslavian conflict disrupted the heroin trade all too briefly, reports
Yigal Chazan in Belgrade
DRUG trafficking across the Balkans, disrupted by the Yugoslavian conflict,
is making a comeback. Albanian mafia barons are carving out a new route to
western Europe bypassing the peninsula's war zones, according to United Nations
With its source in Turkey and the Caucasus, the channel runs the length of
the southern Balkans, via Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. The drugs are then
shipped to Italy, the gateway to Albanian -controlled heroin markets in
Switzerland and Germany.
"We are talking about a new route between the Black Sea and the Adriatic
coast," said Bernard Frahi, of the UN's drug control programme, set up to help
governments crack down on the trade.
European police chiefs fear the conduit will strengthen Kosovo Albanian drug
syndicates, among the most powerful on the continent, whose tentacles have
stretched to the east coast of the United States.
Kosovars - Albanians from the Serbian province of Kosovo - dominate the
Albanian narcotics trade in Europe. Doors are opened because they are regarded
as political refugees fleeing Serbian repression, and Albanian communities in
Germany and Switzerland provide perfect cover.
From their base in Veliki Trnovac in southern Serbia, dubbed the "Medellin of
the Balkans", Albanian mafia chiefs oversee their European drug operation.
Balkan governments are struggling to staunch the flow of heroin, marijuana
and raw opium along the emerging conduit. Over the past year, Macedonian police
have seized millions of pounds worth of drugs and arrested scores of couriers.
Increasingly, Macedonia's anti-drug force has sought the co-operation of its
Italian counterparts. A 10-month joint operation ended in May with the seizure
of 42 kg of heroin in Skopje. Nevertheless, the authorities there admit they are
a long way from smashing the network.
In Albania, a chronic lack of anti-trafficking expertise has given the
smugglers a free rein. "Albania is now a priority for us," said Mr Frahi, whose
agency plans to offer Tirana technical assistance.
Before Yugoslavia's descent into bloodshed, heroin was funnelled from Turkey
via Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia to western Europe. The violent break-up of the
federation shut the traditional Balkan route.
Other channels quickly proliferated through eastern Europe. According to the
UN, drugs were routed through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech
But anti-trafficking measures have been stepped up in eastern Europe in the
past two years. Just 6.4 kg of narcotics were seized by Hungarian police in
1990, but by this August the figure had risen to 1,300 kg.
According to a senior official of the Macedonian interior ministry: "The
Albanian mafia found that now it's not so easy to smuggle through eastern Europe
and are now switching back to the Balkans."
The UN blockade of Serbia to the north and, more recently, the Greek embargo
against Macedonia to the south have been gifts to the smugglers, who have taken
advantage of the increased truck traffic from the Black Sea to the Adriatic
coast which must now cross the southern Balkans, east to west.
Tirana admits that smugglers are active, but denies Albania sits astride the
new Balkan route.
"We can't deny there's some drug trafficking but it's not of the dimensions
that are being suggested," said Genc Pollo, the presidential spokesman, in
Most of the drugs seized in Macedonia come from Turkey, according to the
state police. Opium base from the Golden Crescent - Pakistan, Iran and
Afghanistan - has traditionally been refined into pure heroin in Turkey for the
western European market.
But the Albanian mafia is also being fed by the rapidly expanding Caucasian
heroin industry, which has flourished in an environment of political instability
and corruption, according to the Paris -based Observatoire Geopolitique Des
Drogues (OGD) which monitors drug smuggling worldwide.
Albanians have two main advantages: Georgian and Armenian mafias are hostile
to their Turkish counterparts, and xenophobia towards Turks in Germany is such
that they are automatically suspected of trafficking, say OGD officials.
In Switzerland, the Albanian mafia has already supplanted the Turkish
"We have enormous problems with Kosovars and Albanians," said Bernard
Soldini, the deputy head of the Lausanne anti-drug force. "Seventy per cent of
the heroin coming to Switzerland comes through the Albanian route."
17. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
May 15, 1992, Friday
Yugoslav police catch ethnic Albanians smuggling heroin
Yugoslav News Agency in English 1145 gmt 11 May 92
Belgrade, 11th May --The Federal police uncovered 12 kg of heroin in a truck
with Turkish licence plates parked close to Belgrade's Hotel National, Belgrade
daily 'Politika' said on Monday [11th May] . The black market value of the
shipment exceeds DM 1.8m, 'Politika' said. The names of the four persons
captured in the truck are being kept secret in the interest of the
investigation, but it is certain, 'Politika' said, that two of them are ethnic
Albanians from Serbia's southern Kosovo province and the others from Belgrade.
According to the paper, everything started a few months ago when Becir Kadriju
of Podujevo (Kosovo) was caught at the Bulgarian-Yugoslav border while
attempting to smuggle a kilogram of heroin in his car. This revealed an entire
drug smuggling chain which, operating under the protection of the powerful
Albanian narco-mafia, sent shipments to Western Europe via Kosovo and the former
Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia. weapons for the ethnic Albanians in
Kosovo are paid for by the funds obtained abroad by the Albanian narco-mafia...
18. Washington Post Writes About Kosovo Albanian Drug Clans
By Bob Djurdjevic --the Truth in Media Newsletter, Nov. 1995
PHOENIX - The November 15-21, 1993 WASHINGTON POST national weekly edition
contained a revealing story filed by a WP reporter from Amsterdam entitled "The
Balkan Heroin." The story traces the drug trails which lead through Kosovo, the
southern Serbian province which is populated 90% by ethnic Albanians.
"According to Pierre Duc, head of the anti-drug force in Lausanne,
Switzerland, ethnic Albanians from the Serbian province of Kosovo have captured
up to 70 percent of the heroin market in Switzerland. About 2,000 Albanians from
Kosovo are being held in Swiss jails on charges of arms and drug smuggling,"
writes William Drozdiak.
The WP story provides a detailed map of heroin drug routes, which originate
in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, and lead through Turkey into Kosovo.
Editorial Comment. What's particularly interesting to us about this WP story
is that the Albanian drug weapons trafficking is not a recent phenomenon. The
Serbian President Milosevic told this writer in a January 1990 meeting at his
office in Belgrade, for example, that Kosovo was a major part of the drug trade
into Western Europe, and that the Serbian police had been capturing large
quantities of smuggled drugs and arms. Yet, instead of exposing such criminal
activities to the public, the Western politicians who have been visiting Kosovo
(in 1990), such as Senators Bob Dole or Dennis DeConcini, for example, only
complained publicly about the alleged human rights violations against ethnic
Albanians. Why did they stay mum on drug trafficking by the Kosovo Albanians?
Why did the WP choose to write about an old news story - NOW?
The WP story quotes the Swiss anti-drug official as saying that the Kosovo
clans had sold heroin and bought Kalashnikov assault rifles and the Uzi
submachine guns over the past three years. "We know that a lot of money is now
leaving Switzerland for the former Yugoslavia," Duc says. "But we don't know
exactly who is getting it, or where the weapons have ended up. These Albanians
in jail rarely talk with us and seem to be a part of the disciplined mafia."
In view of these remarks, isn't it interesting that the WP editors chose to
headline the story "The Balkan Heroin," rather than "The Albanian Kosovo
Heroin," or "The Albanian Kosovo Mafia," as might have been more appropriate by
We've also found it amusing that the WP calls Ibrahim Rugova, a Kosovo
Albanian separatist leader, a "pacifist." Yet, in the same paragraph, the WP
story points out that the Hungarian police have recently intercepted trucks full
of small arms that experts believe were bound for Kosovo.
Editorial comment. And all this arms and drug smuggling is happening at a
time of the world's tightest U.N. sanctions? Mr. Fuerth, would you care to
explain where on your priority list for import approvals the Kalashnikovs and
heroin rank? Are they above or below aspirin, for example? We already suspect
that they are above bread and below cigarettes. You see, we've just learned that
the U.N. Sanctions Committee has just approved a large quantity of cigarettes
for import into Serbia.
Meanwhile, poison and death aren't just the commodities in demand in the
Balkans. The WP story reported that, the glut of drugs in Western Europe "is
raising fears among police and social workers about a generation of addicts
becoming victims of.. a United Nations of drug smugglers involved in the trade
Editorial Comment. Anybody still wondering why even our friends in Western
Europe resent our pro-Muslim, pro-Albanian foreign policy?
19. The Christian Science Monitor
October 20, 1994, Thursday ; Pg. 6
Albanian Mafias Find New Drug Routes Around Yugoslavia
Yigal Chazan, Special to The Christian Science Monitor
DISRUPTED by the Yugoslav conflict, drug trafficking across the Balkans is
making a comeback as Albanian mafia barons carve out a new smuggling route to
Western Europe, bypassing the peninsula's war zones, according to United Nations
and other narcotics experts.
Before Yugoslavia's descent into war, heroin was funneled from Turkey via
Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia to Western Europe. Yugoslavia's turbulent
fragmentation shut that traditional Balkan route.
Other channels quickly proliferated through Eastern Europe, exploiting lax
controls and desperate cash needs. According to the UN, the main conduit now
runs through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Antitrafficking measures along this route have been stepped up, pressuring
the traffickers to change their route. For example, just 14 pounds of hard drugs
were seized by Hungarian police in 1990, but by August this year, the figure had
risen to 1,302 pounds.
International drug-control organizations are again honing in on this area in
an effort to stanch the flow of drugs through eastern Europe.
According to the East European office of the Brussels-based Customs
Cooperation Council - an international customs authority - a quarter of the
heroin sold in West Europe passes through East Europe. It says just 10 percent
of the drug destined for West European markets is seized. In 1993, police in
East Europe seized 5,000 pounds of heroin, 4,000 pounds of cocaine, and 50,000
pounds of cannabis.
With its supply in Turkey and the Caucasus, the channel now runs the length
of the southern Balkans, via Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania. The drugs are
then shipped to Italy, the gateway to Albanian-controlled heroin markets in
Switzerland and Germany, according to Observatoire Geopolitique Des Drogues
(OGD), which monitors drug smuggling worldwide in Paris.
Crackdown on traffickers
The tougher measures are one of the main reasons for the development of the
new drugs artery, according to a senior Macedonian Interior Ministry official.
''The Albanian mafia found that now it's not so easy to smuggle through
Eastern Europe and are now switching back to the Balkans,'' says Bernard Frahi,
of the UN Drug Control Program in Vienna, set up to help governments crack down
The UN blockade of Serbia to the north and, more recently, Greece's embargo
against Macedonia to the south, has been a gift to the smugglers. They have
taken advantage of the upsurge in truck traffic from the Black Sea to the
And UN narcotics experts say a lack of antidrug legislation, poorly equipped
police forces, a cash-based economy, and weak banking regulations create optimum
conditions for traffickers.
Tirana admits that smugglers are active, but refutes that Albania sits
astride the new Balkan route. ''We can't deny there's some drug trafficking, but
it's not of the dimensions that are being suggested,'' says Genz Pollo,
presidential spokesman in Tirana.
But European police chiefs fear the conduit will strengthen Kosovo Albanian
drug syndicates - some of the most powerful on the continent - whose tentacles
have stretched as far as the East coast of the United States, UN drug agents
Kosovars, Albanians from the Serbian province of Kosovo, dominate the
Albanian narcotics trade in Europe. Doors are opened because they are regarded
as political refugees fleeing Serbian repression, and existing Albanian
communities in Germany and Switzerland provide perfect cover, according to the
The Medellin of the Balkans
From their base in Veliki Trnovac in southern Serbia, dubbed the ''Medellin
of the Balkans,'' Albanian mafia chiefs oversee their European drug operation
and are suspected of masterminding the new Balkan route.
Balkan governments are struggling to staunch the flow of drugs along the
emerging conduit. Over the past year, Macedonian police have seized millions of
dollars worth of drugs and arrested scores of couriers.
Increasingly, Macedonia's antidrug force has sought the cooperation of its
Italian counterparts. A 10-month-old joint operation ended in May with the
seizure of 93 pounds of heroin in Skopje, Macedonia's capital. Nevertheless, the
authorities there admit they're a long way from smashing the network.
In Albania, a chronic lack of antitrafficking expertise combined with an
apparent ignorance of the Balkan pipeline has effectively given the smugglers a
''Albania is now a priority for us,'' says Mr. Frahi, whose agency
plans to offer Tirana technical assistance to combat the drug scourge.
Most of the drugs seized in Macedonia come from Turkey according to state
police officials. Opium base from the Golden Crescent - Pakistan, Iran, and
Afghanistan - has traditionally been refined into pure heroin in Turkey for the
Western European market.
Albanians benefit from two main advantages: Georgian and Armenian mafias are
hostile to their Turkish counterparts, and xenophobia towards Turks in Germany
is such that they are automatically suspected of trafficking, OGD officials say.
CTK National News Wire
August 5, 1995
20. CTK: TWO KILOGRAMMES OF PURE HEROIN DETAINED BY CZECH POLICE
Two kilogrammes of pure heroin detained by Czech police Two kilogrammes of
highly pure heroin worth 2,000,000 crowns (about $80,000) were detained by
National Anti-Drug Centre policemen on Tuesday, director of the centre Jiri
Komorous told CTK today.
According to experts six kilogrammes of the so-called street heroin could
have been produced from this amount by consumers.
Two men - a Czech courier (23) and an Albanian from Kosovo, Serbia, (36), the
organiser of the deal - were detained, Komorous said. The police action was the
result of a long-term operation by the Czech, German and Swiss police. Other men
were arrested in Germany and Switzerland in connection with the case.
The Albanian was detained by the police in Prague's Merlyn bar whose owners,
Komorous said, were members of the Kosovo-Albanian crime group. Albanians from
Kosovo have managed to turn the Czech Republic into one of the goal stations of
trade in heroin and flooded the whole republic with this drug.
Since 1993 the Czech, German and Swiss anti-Drug Centre has arrested already
102 members of this mafia, Komorous said.
21. Defense & Foreign Affairs' Strategic Policy
August 31, 1994
" Albanian Role in Drug Trade "
Reliable sources indicate that Albanian nationals and locations are
increasingly being involved in the international heroin trade. Much of the
heroin is being traded for arms. Italian police led an operation, codenamed
Macedonia, on May 18, 1994, seizing 49kg of heron, uncovering a local
mafia-Albanian connection. The trade is being focused around Albanians in
Albania itself, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM) and the Kosovo
province of Yugoslavia.
A significant number of drug dealers have been arrested in recent months in
Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Greece. Most were Albanians from Skopje,
(Macedonia), Pristina (Serbia, Yugoslavia), and Shkoder (Albania). Two key towns
of the present drug route are situated on the border between Macedonia and
Serbia. They are Vratnica on the Macedonian side of the border and Blastica on
the Serbian side. The residents of both towns are predominantly Albanian. In
FYRM, the main heroin route is the town of Gostivar; in Albania itself, it is
Tropoia. Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy has the name of the
company whose trucks are used for international transport of the heroin.
On the outskirts of Mumanovo, FYRM, a barracks beside the highway houses a
modern heroin processing plant, sources said. Precursors are supplied by another
plant in FYRM, somewhere on the border with Greece; the plant was built with
Top floors of the Skopje Grand Hotel are, according to the sources, all
booked by those involved in one way or another with the drug or arms trade.
Meanwhile, Albanians living in Switzerland, Germany and the US are slowly
pushing Turks out of the business. Much of this is because the Caucasus heroin
trade is in the hands of Georgians and Armenians who do not want to deal with
the Turks. They do, however, accept Albanians as the middlemen and agree to be
paid in arms which are controlled by the Albanians. In Germany, the Albanians
have been largely using expatriate Croatians as their dealers. The Turks,
meanwhile, are getting most of the blame for the drug trafficking.
In Georgia, local traffickers are well-connected with the authorities. One
very senior minister was reported to Defense & Foreign Affairs as being
"one of the bosses" of the trade. The minister in question has his own police,
known locally as "centurions" and nicknamed the "Gucci boys". Now, the port of
Sukhumi, Georgia, is taking over from Batumi, Georgia, as the main heroin
transshipment port. The drugs come mostly from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan. Leaders in the trade are Kosovo Albanians. The port of Batumi is
controlled by Adjara, collaborating with Turks. This was formerly the main port
for the transshipment of the heroin cargoes, until the rise of Sukhumi, from
whence drugs are ferried to the Balkans and other European destinations.
In and around Shkoder, the paramilitary organisations of the Albanian drug
and weapons dealers are equipped with more sophisticated weapons than the
Albanian Army. At present, the Albanian Government seems to be ignoring the rise
of the drug and arms phenomenon, largely because it supports broader Albanian
strategic objectives with regard to Yugoslavia, but there is some concern that
the drug operators will soon -- if they do not already -- pose a problem similar
to that which has plagued Colombia. The drug-arms traffic, coupled with
international support for the expatriate Albanian groups in Kosovo and other
parts of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, is seen /by the Albanian
leadership as the means to achieving a "greater Albania". In the absence of a
coherent domestic political and economic plan to transform Albania, geographic
expansion is seen by many Albanians as the key to their future.
US officials are aware of the trade but reportedly ignore it because many of
the weapons traded are going to anti-Serbian groups and the heroin is going to
European markets, not the US. Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic
Policy has, however, been receiving reports that some US nationals are
becoming involved in the trade in Albania and Macedonia.
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
October 14, 1991, Monday
22. Drugs and weapons seized; murders committed in Kosovo in January- August
SOURCE: Yugoslav News Agency in Serbo-Croat 1323 gmt 9 Oct 91
Yugoslav News Agency in English 1807 gmt 10 Oct 91
Pristina, 9th October During the first eight months of this year members of
the special militia units of the [Serbian] Ministry of Internal Affairs [MUP] in
Kosovo and Metohija uncovered and seized 13.5 kg of heroin, 854 pistols, 482
rifles, four automatic weapons and the same number of carbines, 12 bombs and
about 11,400 rounds of ammunition of assorted calibres.
According to Obrad Stevanovic, commander of the HQ of special Serbian MUP
militia units, it is mainly members of Albanian nationality who indulge in drug
and weapon smuggling and the assets acquired in this way are used to finance
According to information by the special units' HQ, the number of murders
among the Albanians for blood feud reasons has recently gone up. During the
first eight months last year 69 murders for blood feud reasons were committed;
during the comparable period this year there were 97 such murders. (Tanjug in
Serbo-Croat 1323 gmt 9 Oct 91)
23. IN BALKANS, ARMS FOR DRUGS
By Barry James
The International Herald Tribune, Paris, June 6, 1994
Albanian groups in Macedonia and Kosovo province in Serbia are trading heroin
for large quantities of weapons for use in a brewing conflict in Kosovo,
according to a report to be published monday by a Paris-based
In recent months, significant quantities of heroin have been seized in
Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Greece from traffickers based in Kosovo's
capital, Pristina, as well as the Macedonian capital, Skopje, and the northern
Albanian town of Skodra, the report said.
Italian policemen recently dismantled a major Italian-Macedonian connection,
seizing 40 kilograms of heroin shipped via the Balkans, it said.
It said Albanian traffickers were supplied with heroin and weapons by
Mafia-like groups in Georgia and Armenia. The Albanians then pay for the
supplies by reselling the heroin in the west. The report said the Albanian
dealers also traded directly with Russian soldiers for weapons in exchange for
The report was drawn up by the "Observatire Geopolitique Des Drogues",
which said it conducted an investigation lasting nearly a year. The organization
carries out research on behalf of the European Commission in Brussels, as well
as publishing and an annual survey of the narcotics trade.
Albanian Muslims from a restive minority in independent Macedonia but make up
the bulk of the population in Kosovo. In Kosovo, the Albanians are repressed by
the Serbian army and Serbian nationalists and have been out off from most
economic activities. Nevertheless, the report said, many families survive with
funds euphemistically described as "Swiss."
Kosovo, on the southern frontier of Serbia, is a potential flash point
because of conflicting Serbian and Albanian nationalism and religion. Although
in the minority, the Serbs consider the province part of Greater Serbia. The
drug report said that a large influx of weapons "is fueling geopolitical hopes
and fears," and adding to the power of Albanian Mafia Godfathers. Albanian
leaders, it added, "are inherently in favour of an uprising in Kosovo."
In Macedonia, about 2,000 U.S. troops are stationed under United Nations
In western Europe, particularly in Germany, the Albanian traffickers compete
with Turkish criminals, the report said. They are not so well known to the
police and have forged close links with Georgians and Armenians, who distrust
Abkhazi separatists in northern Georgia have set up yet another connection
for arms and narcotics traffic toward the Balkans, according to the monitoring
The report said Albanian mafiosi, who wear expensive suits and who travel
ostentatiously in mercedes cars accompanied by bodyguards, have taken over a
floor of one of Skopje's best hotels. It said a suspected heroin refinery was in
operation near the town of Kumanovo in Macedonia.
24. The Independent (London)
December 10, 1993, Friday
INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE; Page 14
Drug profits fund weapons for Balkans; After yesterday's disclosures in
on Europe's heroin trade, Robert Block and Leonard Doyle examine links with
BYLINE: ROBERT BLOCK and LEONARD DOYLE
WEAPONS are pouring into the Balkans despite an arms embargo, which the
international community doggedly maintains in the belief that it will prevent
the Bosnian war from spreading to other flashpoints in the region.
Some of the weapons are paid for by wealthy expatriates in North America and
Australia. Others are bankrolled with the profits of the heroin trade to Western
Europe. More often, sympathetic governments, including Iran, fund the purchase
Some heavy weapons get through the Nato screen to the Balkans, but the
trafficking is mostly in machine-guns, automatic rifles, mortars, grenades and
As in most of the 30 present conflicts in the world, light weapons are the
cause of most military and civilian casualties, according to Aaron Karp, an
expert in the way weapons reach insurgent groups. He calculates that it costs
about $ 75m ( pounds 51m) a year to equip a militia army of 10,000 troops with
Serbia is almost immune to the arms embargo and, says Jane's Defence Weekly,
has completely reconstructed its formidable defence industry.
To get sophisticated equipment, such as the eight Hind helicopters the
Bosnian army recently acquired, requires state sponsorship, arms experts say, in
this case probably Iran. Another Bosnian arms deal linked to Iran surfaced with
the seizure earlier this year of a Panamanian-flagged ship with
surface-to-surface missiles, 25,000 machine-guns and 7 million rounds of
ammunition. The previous year, after a CIA tipoff, an Iranian Boeing 747 at
Zagreb airport was found to be carrying thousands of machine-guns and 40 Iranian
The trend towards the use of drug profits to buy weapons for the Balkans -
for present use or stockpiling for future conflicts - first came to light in
1991 when the Swiss police uncovered a large network of Albanians from the
Serbian province of Kosovo buying semi- automatic weapons in Berne and Basle
with proceeds of heroin sold in Switzerland.
Albanians now control up to 70 per cent of the Swiss heroin market and there
are more than 2,000 Albanians from Kosovo in the country's jails on drugs- and
arms-smuggling charges. Bearing the brunt of Serbian aggression, and desperately
poor, Kosovo's Albanian clans have turned to heroin smuggling to finance weapons
deals, according to European police sources. Recently eight Albanians, including
a Macedonian deputy defence minister of Albanian origin, were arrested for
smuggling arms into Macedonia, sparking fears of the Bosnian war spreading.
Macedonia's Foreign Minister, Ljubomir Frekovski, has described four channels
through which arms flow - two routes across Bulgaria for weapons bound for
Bosnia and Croatia, one through Thessaloniki in Greece and another through
''It is easier to buy a modern machine-gun in the Balkans today than a
Toblerone chocolate bar,'' one expert noted.
Despite the three-year-old arms embargo on all six republics of the former
Yugoslavia, arms - even large weapons such as tanks, fighter planes and
helicopters - have made their way to Bosnia and Croatia from a variety of
sources. These include East European arsenals, Islamic countries, the Italian
Mafia and Russian mobsters.
Most of the arms flowing to the Balkans originate in the bulging inventories
of the old Warsaw Pact. ''But by the time they arrive at their destinations they
are usually covered with the fingerprints of criminals,'' said Daniel Nelson of
Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia, who has published a study of the
arms trade to former Yugoslavia. He says Russian and other East European mafias
are the middlemen in the trade.
Investigators in Florence, Italy, last summer began prosecuting 43 people on
charges of smuggling weapons to and from East Europe, Belgium and former
Yugoslavia. They point to the Mafia's growing links to criminal groups in
arms-rich but cash-poor East European countries.
United Nations sources say the Bosnian army has taken delivery of at least
eight former Warsaw Pact helicopters over the last six months. The helicopters,
based in Zenica, are used to ferry arms, soldiers and the wounded.
By far the biggest beneficiary of the illict arms trade has been Croatia.
Zagreb now boasts at least 16 Russian MI-17 utility helicopters that it did not
possess before the war, and in the past few months, the HVO has suddenly started
flying its own helicopter missions in western Herzegovina.
25. Jane's Intelligence Review; February 1, 1995
SECTION: EUROPE; Vol. 7; No. 2; Pg. 68
The 'Balkan Medellin'
BYLINE: Marko Milivojevic
The Albanian-dominated region of western Macedonia accounts for a
disproportionate share of the Macedonia's (FYROM) shrinking GDP. This situation
has strengthened Albanophobic sentiments among the ethnic Macedonian majority,
especially as a great deal of revenue is thought to derive from Albanian
narco-terrorism as well as associated gun-running and cross-border smuggling to
and from Albania, Bulgaria and the Kosovo province of Serbia. Although its
extent and forms remain in dispute, this rising Albanian economic power is
helping to turn the Balkans into a hub of criminality.
Previously transported to Western Europe through former Yugoslavia, heroin
from Turkey, the Transcaucasus and points further east is now being increasingly
routed to Italy via the Black Sea, Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. This is a
development that has strengthened the Albanian mafia which is now thought to
control 70 per cent of the illegal heroin market in Germany and Switzerland.
Closely allied to the powerful Sicilian mafia, the Albanian associates have also
greatly benefitted from the presence of large numbers of mainly Kosovar
Albanians in a number of West European countries; Switzerland alone now has over
100000 ethnic Albanian residents. As well as providing a perfect cover for
Albanian criminals, this diaspora is also a useful source of income for
Socially organized in extended families bound together in clan alliances,
Kosovar Albanians dominate the Albanian mafia in the southern Balkans. Other
than Kosovo, the Albanian mafia is also active in northern Albania and western
Macedonia. In this context, the so-called 'Balkan Medellin' is made up of a
number of geographically connected border towns, namely Veliki Trnovac and
Blastica in Serbia, Vratnica in Macedonia, and Gostivar in Albania. Further
afield, the Albanian mafia also has a strong presence in: Pristina, the capital
of Kosovo; Skopje, the capital of Macedonia; Shkoder, the second largest city in
Albania and its northern provincial capital; and Durres, Albania's main port and
maritime link to nearby Italy across the Adriatic Sea.
As for heroin processing locally, the Albanian mafia now reportedly runs at
least two secret facilities in Macedonia, which is also the key regional
transportation crossroads for the trans-shipment of heroin from Bulgaria to
Albania. Heroin shipments are thought to be mostly moved overland by a number of
seemingly legitimate international trucking and freight-forwarding companies in
Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia.
High-level corruption, widespread local poverty, a tradition of cross-border
smuggling and poor policing throughout the region have all aided the recent rise
of the Albanian mafia. In Macedonia, local drug-trafficking is now out of
control, a fact which no doubt explains why the Macedonian police have recently
turned to Italy for assistance in this area of law enforcement. In this context,
the Italian national police mounted a major 10-month joint operation with their
Macedonian counterparts in Skopje in 1993-94. Codenamed 'Macedonia', this
operation reportedly involved intensive surveillance of known Kosovar Albanian
drug-traffickers in the Macedonian capital. Here, a joint Italian-Macedonian
police swoop resulted in the seizure of 42 kg of pure heroin in May 1994. In
terms of the quantity of heroin now routinely transiting Macedonia, however, the
Skopje seizure was insignificant. Operationally, larger seizures of such
controlled substances are ultimately dependent on co-operation from the police
in nearby Serbia and Albania. To date, they have proved remarkably unhelpful.
If left unchecked, this growing Albanian narco-terrorism could lead to a
Colombian syndrome in the southern Balkans, or the emergence of a situation in
which the Albanian mafia becomes powerful enough to control one or more states
in the region. In practical terms, this will involve either Albania or
Macedonia, or both. Politically, this is now being done by channelling growing
foreign exchange (forex) profits from narco-terrorism into local governments and
political parties. In Albania, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) led by President
Sali Berisha is now widely suspected of tacitly tolerating and even directly
profiting from drug-trafficking for wider politico-economic reasons, namely the
financing of secessionist political parties and other groupings in Kosovo and
In Macedonia, the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) and other ethnic
Albanian political parties, such as the ultra-nationalistic National Democratic
Party (NDP), are almost certainly in receipt of laundered Albanian forex profits
from narco-terrorism. These have also been reportedly used for the bribing of
corrupt Macedonian government officials and police. More generally, Kosovo and
western Macedonia are both suspiciously well endowed in forex. This can only
realistically have come from criminal enterprises, given the widespread poverty
of these two connected areas in the Yugoslav period.
A similar state of affairs exists in nearby Albania, which is not as poor in
forex as its government likes to pretend. In all three cases, this criminally
generated forex is often disguised as emigree remittances; these totalled over
US$500 million in Albania alone in 1993. If Kosovo and Macedonia are included,
then total Albanian forex from narco-terrorism going into the southern Balkans
in 1993 could have been as high as US$1 billion. Other than buying the Albanian
mafia political protection and influence, and a certain spurious popular
legitimacy for its alleged patriotism, this laundered drug money is now being
increasingly used in an associated activity, namely gun-running among the
region's ethnic Albanians.
Balkan Arms Bazaar
Bizarre even by the murky standards of the Balkans, the recent trial in
Skopje of 10 ethnic Albanians charged with 'conspiracy to form military
formations' revealed the extent of illegal gun-running at the highest levels in
Macedonia. Politically, what made this trial significant was the public standing
of some of its defendants. In this context, the then Macedonian interior
minister, Ljubomir Frckovski, ordered the arrest in late 1993 of two leading
members of the PDP, which was in government in Skopje. The two alleged
high-level gun-runners were Midhat Emini, the then president of the PDP, and
Husein Haskaj, the then deputy defence minister in the government of Premier
Branko Crvenkovski. Given the immense political implications of these arrests
and the trial that followed on from them in 1994, Frckovski could only have
acted in the way that he did for the most compelling of reasons.
All of this meant that top PDP leaders were then involved in the illegal
importation of armaments purchased in Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia and the West.
These activities must have involved the local Albanian mafia, which is itself
heavily armed with sophisticated weaponry purchased with the profits from
narco-terrorism. This may have indicated that the PDP and the NDP were tiring of
parliamentary politics in Skopje and preparing other options to advance their
cause, namely an armed uprising of some sort. In the case of the main ethnic
Albanian political party in Macedonia, the PDP, this interpretation was later
given added credence when its formally relatively moderate leadership was ousted
by a radical ultra-nationalist faction in a palace revolution orchestrated by
the DP government in Albania. Significantly, this development took place just
after the public trial of the two top PDP leaders charged with illegal
Currently led by two noted ultra-nationalists, Abdurahman Haliti and Medhuh
Thaci, the PDP can thus no longer be regarded as a purely constitutional party.
In practice, it is also a secret party-militia, tainted with Albanian
narco-terrorist connections. This is even more true of the NDP which is now
close to becoming a terrorist organization. In addition, both these parties are
now also directly controlled by nearby Albania where the SHIK secret police is
known to be heavily implicated in both working with the Albanian mafia and
cross-border gun-running into Macedonia and Kosovo. For all these reasons, the
PDP and the NDP may eventually be formally proscribed by the Skopje government.
Despite its recent poor performance in the October 1994 elections (see
article on pp 64-67), the VMRO-DPMNE aims to profit from such worsening
inter-ethnic tensions in the future. Already, it is openly advocating the use of
repressive and violent options against the ethnic Albanian minority. In this
context, the VMRO-DPMNE is itself suspected of secretly arming its
ultra-nationalistic membership with the assistance of influential VMRO
irredentist forces in nearby Bulgaria. Sofia has a notorious reputation for
selling armaments to anybody who can pay for them, including virtually all the
parties in the ongoing civil war in the former Yugoslavia.
Regional Sanctions Breaking
Effectively trapped between two stronger anti-Macedonian states, namely
Serbia and Greece, Macedonia has effectively been compelled to break the trade
embargo imposed by the UN against rump Yugoslavia in 1992. In the case of
Serbia, Macedonia was closely bound to it economically during the Yugoslav
period. Breaking all these economic links, as demanded by the UN Security
Council, has proved impossible in practice.
Initially tolerated by the international community, the Macedonian
sanctions-breaking has recently reached significant levels, particularly after
the UN lifted some of its non-economic sanctions against rump Yugoslavia in
1994. For all practical purposes, there is no longer even the pretence of
Macedonian compliance with the UN's sanctions regime against rump Yugoslavia.
Other than Greece, Albania and Bulgaria also reportedly make extensive use of
Macedonia for their own sanctions-breaking activities in relation to rump
Yugoslavia. Economically, it is now an open secret in Skopje that Macedonia
would have completely collapsed long ago had it attempted to avoid such regional
In this context, matters became critical for Macedonia when Greece, in a move
clearly closely co-ordinated with Serbia, imposed an economic blockade against
the country in March 1994. This immediately cut off Macedonia from the Greek
port of Thessaloniki, thereby increasing its economic dependence on Serbia. The
only alternative link to the outside world, via nearby Albania and Bulgaria, was
also uncertain. In the case of Albania, this was mainly due to a worsening of
relations between Skopje and Tirane over the issue of the ethnic Albanians in
As regards Bulgaria, there were also political problems, notably those
pertaining to Sofia's ambivalent recognition of Macedonia as a separate
Macedonian state but not as the homeland of a separate Macedonian nation
distinct from Bulgaria. In addition, the main east-west communications routes to
Albania and Bulgaria are very poorly developed, thereby limiting the amount of
freight traffic they can handle.
Politically, this illegal Greco-Serbian economic pressure against Macedonia
has resulted in a more conciliatory stance by the Skopje government towards
Athens and Belgrade. Officials in these capitals would like to see Macedonia
reincorporated into a third and Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. Domestically, such a
scenario is now being made more probable by local socio-economic collapse and
the worsening conflict between the ethnic Macedonian majority and the ethnic
Albanian minority population in western Macedonia. Longer term, this could
conceivably lead to local participation in a proposed regional anti-Albanian and
anti-Muslim 'Orthodox Alliance' between Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.
Already openly advocated by VMRO-DPMNE, such a scenario would become more
probable if Macedonia descends into an inter-ethnic civil war or outright
partition furthered by its stronger and hostile neighbours.
Marko Milivojevic is member of the Research Unit in South East European
Studies at the University of Bradford, UK.
GRAPHIC: Photograph 1, UN soldiers patrol a queue of vehicles which are
waiting to be checked for embargoed goods prior to entering Serbia from
Macedonia.; (Photograph 2, AP)
26. The San Francisco Chronicle
JUNE 10, 1994, FRIDAY, FINAL EDITION
Drugs Paying for Conflict in Europe
Separatists supporting themselves with traffic in narcotics
By Frank Viviano, Chronicle Staff Writer
Narcotics smuggling has become a prime source of financing for civil
wars already under way -- or rapidly brewing -- in southern Europe and the
eastern Mediterranean, according to a report issued here this week.
The report, by the Paris-based Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues, or
Geopolitical Observatory of Drugs, identifies belligerents in the former
Yugoslav republics and Turkey as key players in the region's accelerating
Albanian nationalists in ethnically tense Macedonia and the Serbian province
of Kosovo have built a vast heroin network, leading from the opium fields of
Pakistan to black-market arms dealers in Switzerland, which transports up to $ 2
billion worth of the drug annually into the heart of Europe, the report says.
More than 500 Kosovo or Macedonian Albanians are in prison in Switzerland for
drug- orarms-trafficking offenses, and more than 1,000 others are under
The arms are reportedly stockpiled in Kosovo for eventual use against the
Serbian government in Belgrade, which imposed a violent crackdown on Albanian
autonomy advocates in the province five years ago.
For its part, Belgrade is also believed to have engineered arms purchases for
Serb rebels in Bosnia -- sidestepping the U.N. embargo against the rump
Yugoslavia -- with the payoffs it receives for laundering the profits of Western
European drug rings.
Law enforcement authorities in Western Europe have become increasingly
concerned about the trend, which has helped boost growing illicit drug sales in
such countries as Germany and Austria.
''The Serbs have financed a part of the war in ex-Yugoslavia thanks to
counterfeiting, and also through the laundering of drug money deposited in more
than 200 private banks or currency exchange offices,'' German secret services
coordinator Bernd Schmid Bauer declared earlier this year, after an extensive
inquiry into the sources of narcotics entering Germany.
Bauer estimated that $ 1.5 billion in drug profits annually is being
laundered in Serbia.
Vienna Police Commissioner M. Gunter Bogl has gone even further than Bauer,
publicly charging after an official visit to Holland that ''the drug syndicates
in Rotterdam and Amsterdam are playing a dominant role in the financing of the
Their profits, he said, ''are filling a war chest that is managed in
ex-Yugoslavia by members of the Italian and Russian Mafias,'' he said.
In southeastern Turkey, Kurdish rebels have similarly financed their uprising
against the central government in Ankara through drug operations, investigators
''The growth of (drug) production and trafficking in Turkey also has its
origins in a bloody war -- with more than 10,000 dead since 1984,'' the report
Last year, the Turkish authorities seized 30 tons of hashish and 2.2 tons of
processed heroin in the country, nearly double the figure for 1992.
In Turkey and the former Yugoslav republics alike, the report suggests, the
failure of the United States and Western European governments to aid suppressed
minority groups -- such as the Kurds and the Kosovo Albanians -- has exacerbated
the drug problem.
These groups ''have been obliged to find other means of financing themselves.
Drug money is one means,'' the report concludes.
The Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues, which compiles research from 80
countries, is regarded as Europe's most authoritative monitor of the
international drug economy. Although it operates independently of government
agencies, its efforts are conducted in partnership with several national police
agencies and underwritten by grants from the European Union in Brussels.
Times Newspapers Limited, October 18, 1994
Copyright 1994 Times Newspapers Limited
27. The Times
October 18, 1994, Tuesday
Albanian mafias target drug routes
From Tim Judah in Belgrade
FROM the lawless shores of the Black Sea to the placid waters of Lake Geneva,
the ''Albanian connection'' is rapidly establishing itself as a key new
drugs-smuggling route into Western Europe.
Crime syndicates from Kosovo, the southern Serbian province with an
overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian population, have already taken control of 70 per
cent of the Swiss heroin market, and police sources across Europe say Albanian
gangs are now second only to Turks in controlling the Balkan routes.
Albanian mafia bosses have been able to take advantage of large communities
of their compatriots in Switzerland and Germany whom they exploit as couriers.
Increasingly these Kosovo drug barons are using Albania as a drug route.
According to the Paris drugs watchdog Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues
(ODG), they are also using Albanians from Albania by giving them false Yugoslav
passports. With these they can apply for asylum in Germany or Switzerland,
saying they are fleeing Serb repression in Kosovo. Before 1991, much of the
heroin from the ''golden crescent'' countries of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan
reached Europe via Turkey and then across Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. The war cut
this route and diverted it northwards. The Albanian mafias are establishing a
new route across Albania and Macedonia, where there is a large ethnic Albanian
A senior source in the Macedonian Interior Ministry confirmed that a new
route is emerging. In 1993 and the first nine months of this year, the
Macedonian police arrested 189 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, on charges
related to drugs trafficking. A big network was also broken up with the help of
the Italian police.
The ODG believes that drug trafficking by Albanian mafias is directly related
to the smuggling of arms for an uprising in Kosovo. There appears to be little
supplementary evidence to support this claim, however. Genc Pollo, spokesman for
President Berisha of Albania, accuses the ODG of fabrication and exaggeration.
He does not deny that there is drugs trafficking across his country but says:
''The problem is under control.''
28. The Washington Post/Houston Chronicle
November 14, 1993, Sunday, 2 STAR Edition
Merchants of death and drugs; Porous borders, Balkan war bring
epidemics of heroin smuggling, arms sales
WILLIAM DROZDIAK; Washington Post
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- More porous borders in Eastern Europe and the war
in Yugoslavia's former republics have spawned an epidemic of drug smuggling
through a half-dozen new routes that are conveying record amounts of heroin to
West European markets, according to U.S. and European investigators.
The alarming rise in heroin traffic has coincided with a jump in clandestine
weapons sales in Europe that officials fear may sustain and possibly expand the
Balkan wars. ""Merchants of death and merchants of drugs go hand in hand, and
never has it been more true than now,'' a senior European drug intelligence
The heroin influx is reflected in plummeting street prices here in Amsterdam,
which has long served as a major drug distribution point because of its
accessibility and tolerant culture. Police say heroin that cost as much as $ 100
a gram a couple of years ago is now being sold for as little as $ 25 a gram.
The glut of hard drugs is raising fears among police and social workers about
a generation of addicts becoming victims of what Werner Keuth, head of Austria's
central narcotics division, calls ""a United Nations of drug smugglers involved
in the trade into Europe. ''
Powerful Turkish clans that controlled Europe's heroin market now find their
turf being invaded by Russian and East European mafias. These include Serb,
Croat and Albanian criminals who are seeking a slice of the action and are also
sending money -- and in some cases weapons -- back to the Balkan war zone,
police officials say.
According to Pierre Duc, head of the anti-drug force in Lausanne,
Switzerland, ethnic Albanians from the Serbian province of Kosovo have captured
up to 70 percent of the heroin market in Switzerland. About 2,000 Albanians from
Kosovo are being held in Swiss jails on charges of arms and drug smuggling.
""The situation has gotten out of control,'' Duc said.
When war broke out in the former Yugoslav republic of Croatia two years ago,
Western drug agents hoped the conflict might shatter the Balkan smuggling route
that funneled heroin from the ""Golden Crescent'' -- parts of Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Iran -- to markets in Western Europe.
For years, Turkish dealers refined opium base from fertile poppy fields in
the Golden Crescent and delivered purified heroin into Western Europe on trucks
plying the E5 highway through Yugoslavia. Breaking the Belgrade link, officials
believed, could dry up overland supplies and force the Turks to take more
Far from constricting the flow of hard drugs, however, wars in Croatia and
later Bosnia have caused new channels to proliferate, mainly because of lax
controls and desperate cash needs in Eastern and Central Europe. ""It's the
black side of open borders and political change,'' Keuth said.
Lausanne's Duc said Kosovo clans have sold heroin and bought Kalashnikov
assault rifles and Uzi submachine guns in Switzerland over the past three years.
He said Swiss police have staunched the weapons purchases but not drug
profiteering by the Albanians.
""We know a lot of money is now leaving Switzerland for the former
Yugoslavia,'' Duc said. ""But we don't know exactly who is getting it, or where
the weapons have ended up. These Albanians in jail rarely talk with us and seem
to be part of a very disciplined mafia. ''
Duc said a few prisoners have spoken of buying arms "for patriotic reasons''
to defend their people in Kosovo.
Ibrahim Rugova, the pacifist leader of Kosovo's Albanian majority, says he
wants to find a political solution to the province's problems that would avoid
another Balkan war. But European specialists fear the guns acquired by the
Kosovo mafia may foreshadow guerrilla warfare. Hungarian police have recently
intercepted trucks full of small arms that experts believe were bound for
Alain Labrousse, director of a Paris-based research group that monitors
global drug trafficking, said the Albanians have enlisted assistance from Serbs
in neighboring villages along the Kosovo frontier to help with their smuggling
operations. "It reminds me of the Lebanese civil war, when Shiites and Sunnis
and Maronites were all fighting each other but continued to cooperate in drug
traffic. It shows again that money is more important than war and ethnic hatred.
Investigators say the heroin is shipped from Turkey into Albanian ports, then
overland to small Albanian-populated villages in Serbia such as Veliki Trnovac.
The Albanian connection, however, is just one of several pipelines bringing
heroin to the West.
Richard Weijenburg, deputy chief of international narcotics control in the
Netherlands, said ""80 to 85 percent'' of the heroin seized comes from the
Balkan route, now fragmented into at least six known "major canals'' leading to
"A big part of the problem is (the) rise of the Slavic mafias and the
lack of law enforcement in the East,'' Weijenburg said. "Police are not
appreciated there because of their role in past communist regimes, and their
salaries are so low that they are easily tempted by corruption. So the drugs can
move freely through those countries. ''
An unprecedented level of cooperation among international police forces has
resulted in a number of major drug seizures. Just last week, Amsterdam police
seized a record 650 pounds of heroin hidden in a truck, and captured a dozen
suspected big-time Turkish smugglers.
29 UN, EU Launch $7.6 Anti-Drug Project in Balkans
SOFIA, Feb. 12, 1999 -- (Reuters) The United Nations and the European Union
launched a $7.6 million project on Thursday to combat drug traffic through
Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania, three countries on the notorious Balkan route.
"Drug trafficking in Europe is growing. It was realized no country could
defeat it on its own. The only way to stop it is to work together," Joem
Kristensen, U.N. Drug Control Program (UNDCP) senior program manager, told
In its first phase the project will include Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania,
which lie on a drug trafficking route for smuggling heroin and hashish from
southwest Asia, particularly Afghanistan, to Western Europe, Kristensen said.
Some 80 percent of drugs supplied to Europe originate in Afghanistan and are
mostly smuggled along this route, he said.
Kristensen said the three-year project could later include other countries in
the region, such as Turkey and Yugoslavia.
Kristensen said the war in former Yugoslavia had forced traffickers to find
alternatives to the more direct route through Turkey, Bulgaria and former
Yugoslavia, such as the route via Romania.
"The peace that followed the war in Yugoslavia re-established the old routes,
but previous one still continue to exist, so there are now more smuggling
groups, more routes, and maybe the challenge we are now facing is bigger," he
"The situation has now become more difficult and we have to undertake new
opportunities to fight drug trafficking."
The project will offer police and customs officials in the three Balkan
states advanced training in profiling techniques and provide them with modern
drug detection equipment and drug-sniffing dogs.
The project also provides for setting up sophisticated criminal data analysis
systems to aid police investigations.
Two thirds of the project's budget will come from the European Commission
while the remainder is expected from UNDCP donors.
According to UNDCP data, an average of more than a tonne of heroin and over
10 tonnes of hashish are seized along the Balkan route each year.
Bulgaria, which lies between Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania,
seized 220 lbs (100 kg) of heroin last year, compared to 688 lbs (312 kg) in
1997, figures collated by the country's Chief Customs Directorate showed.
( (c) 1999 Reuters)
30. Chronicles (A Magazine of American Culture) December 1998
"Cultural Revolutions" by Srdja Trifkovic
KOSOVO ALBANIANS have been well supplied with arms and money. Some of the
support has come from Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East, and some from
the extensive heroin trade controlled by Albanians. More recently, as Germany's
Social Democrats and their Green coalition partners prepared to take over the
reins of government in Bonn, evidence came to light that German secret services
have been instrumental for years in helping the Albanian separatist movement in
While the government of ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl had officially backed the
Western policy of seeking a negotiated solution (before that policy gave way to
yet another wave of "bomb-the-Serbs" euphoria), the Bonn government was
undermining that policy on the ground. Behind the scenes, German civil and
military intelligence services have been involved in training and equipping the
Kosovo rebels for years. Their objective was to foment armed rebellion against
Serbia and thus strengthen Germany' s autonomous sphere of influence in the
Balkans, where Bonn has conducted a remarkably active policy - quite
independently of its European partners - ever since Yugoslavia started breaking
up almost a decade ago.
Plus ca change, plus la meme chose. Germany's policy in the region
traditionally has been anti-Serb; it remains so today, no less than in 1914 or
1941. In December 1991, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, then-foreign minister of the
Federal Republic, insisted on what the rest of the European Union subsequently
came to regard as the "mistaken and premature" (in the words of Lord Carrington)
recognition of Croatia. It is also noteworthy that the self-proclaimed
government of the Republic of Kosovo is based in Germany, where approximately
400,000 Kosovo Albanians now live.
According to a report from Paris by Roger Faligot, published in the
"European" (September 21-27), Germany's role in arming the Kosovo militants has
led to a serious rift between the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German
intelligence service, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Faligot quotes
French diplomatic sources and General Pierre-Marie Gallois, a specialist in
geopolitics, who maintains that some decision-making circles in Germany wish to
destabilize the Serbs regardless of the consequences for regional stability:
"The Kosovo crisis has initiated a rift between Germany and the United States.
Washington realized that pushing the Kosovo Albanians towards a military
confrontation with Milosevic, as the Germans wanted to do, would have a
boomerang effect on the Balkans. The United States put pressure on Germany to
stop supporting the KLA behind the scenes, as did the other European countries
such as Britain and France."
The founding of the KLA, the armed wing of the Albanian separatist movement
in Kosovo, coincided with the appointment of Hansjoerg Geiger as the new head of
the BND in 1996. One of the first operational decisions was to set up in Tirana
one of the largest BND regional stations. BND operatives collaborated closely
with the top brass of the Shik, the Albanian secret service and the successor to
the notorious communist Sigurimi. The BND men were in charge of selecting
recruits for the KLA command structure from among tens of thousands of Kosovo
Albanians living in Albania. Meanwhile, the BND Rome bureau provided political
intelligence back-up, including recruitment work in Trieste and Bari, two of the
principal entry points into Italy for Albanians.
The German Militaerabschirmdienst (MAD), the intelligence arm of the
military, and special commando units such as the Kommandos Spezialkraefte (KSK)
were involved in training and the provision of uniforms and communications
equipment. Reporters covering Kosovo were surprised to find some KLA fighters
clad in current issue Bundeswehr combat jackets with identifiable German
insignia. The training was subsidized through an Albanian foundation know as
"The Fatherland's Call," with branches in Duesseldorf, Bonn, Stockholm, Bern,
and other European capitals.
These findings were corroborated in a recent German television documentary
program, Monitor (September 24). The network's team of investigators, Jo Angerer
and Volker Happe, have unearthed a wealth of data proving the link between the
KLA and German intelligence services. The report opened with a shipment of arms
seized as they were being smuggled into Kosovo from Albania, including high-tech
Armbrust anti-tank grenade launchers. "They were developed by the Germany
company MBB for the Bundeswehr, and built in Singapore under German license,"
the report stated, adding that Albanian rebels were also using radio
communications and military monitoring equipment of German origin.
Monitor confirmed that immediately after the communist regime in Tirana
collapsed, the BND resident in Tirana was involved in "several illegal arms
supplies" which had been arranged by MAD headquarters in Cologne. A former MAD
official said that the arms supplies were ordered "by the very top" and that the
operation is still treated as strictly confidential. According to a written
statement by another informer involved in this operation, "In 1990 and 1991, the
MAD supplied electronic and optical monitoring devices and other equipment such
as radios to the Albanian intelligence service. The monitoring equipment came
from the former East German ministry for state security - the Bundeswehr took it
over after unification - and from MAD supplies. MAD officials trained Albanian
intelligence service personnel in Tirana to use this equipment."
Contrary to the expected denials from the Federal Defense Ministry, BND and
MAD sources confirm that members of the Bundeswehr's school for communications
in Bad Ems visited the Albanian capital Tirana on several occasions, as did
member of the MAD in Cologne, to arrange deliveries and training.
All of this is against the law - both international law, and Germany's
domestic legislation regulating its intelligence agencies, according to Dr.
Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, a Munich-based expert on intelligence-related questions.
It remains to be seen whether the new coalition in Bonn will be less adventurous
in its Balkan policy and more inclined to observe the law of nations and to
pursue consensus- building within Europe.
31. Analysis-West Has Little Leverage Over Kosovo
PRISTINA, Serbia, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Separatist guerrillas in Kosovo lie
beyond the easy reach of NATO, making it hard for the West to threaten military
consequences if the insurgents reject an autonomy deal on offer in peace talks.
That's the assessment of western diplomats posted in Kosovo, who worry about
the imbalance between threats to bomb Yugoslavia if the Serbian side scuttles
the peace deal and the lack of an equivalent stick to punish ethnic Albanian
"There's an asymmetry in the talks because so much more direct military
pressure can be brought to bear on Belgrade to force them to make the deal the
West wants," a Western diplomat, who asked not to be named, told Reuters in
Kosovo on Sunday.
"The Serbian side has joined-up forces and a military infrastructure that
NATO can bomb with devastating effect."
"The KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) is everywhere and nowhere, like any
guerrilla force. To attack them you have to attack the civilian population of
which they are a part. The Serbs did that and killed a lot of civilians. NATO
won't make that mistake."
The Kosovo peace talks in Rambouillet, southwest of Paris, entered their
second week on Sunday without agreement.
NATO sabres are being rattled to get Belgrade's attention, as has happened
before with the former Yugoslavia this decade.
But what good would NATO's military might be if the ethnic Albanians, rather
than the Serbs, say "no" at Rambouillet?
What could the West threaten if the KLA refuses to disarm and settle for
autonomy, rather than independence, as the peace deal requires of them?
A U.S. official said on Saturday in France that if ethnic Albanians dragged
their feet they would be told the international community is no longer
interested in their problem. That was code for warning them not to expect the
West to intervene to save them from Serbian security forces again.
Asked how Western leaders could sustain such a position in the face of
television pictures of slaughtered civilians, one senior American official said
"We'll just ignore them (the pictures). The 'CNN factor' is over-rated. It's
only when we respond to the pictures that there's a consequence to them. We
create the CNN factor, not CNN or the public or the warring parties."
The official spoke on January 12. Three days later 45 ethnic Albanians were
shot dead in the village of Racak in what was immediately described by the
ranking international diplomat in Kosovo -- an American -- as a massacre by
Television pictures of that alleged massacre produced such an uproar in the
United States and Europe that days later Western officials ordered Serbians and
ethnic Albanians to Rambouillet at the point of a NATO gun.
The KLA does have pressure points, but they have proved elusive in the past.
Using NATO troops to seal the border between Kosovo and neighbouring Albania,
over which the guerrillas receive shipments of men, arms and ammunition, has
been much discussed.
But NATO operations in the rugged, lawless mountains of northern Albania
would be expensive, difficult and treacherous, involving interdiction of not
just KLA cadres but of the spectacularly violent criminal gangs who supply
What is more, analysts and observers on the ground report that the KLA is
getting more and more of its weaponry from black market sources inside Serbia,
making cross-border shipments less important than they were even six months ago.
Since ethnic Albanians make up 90 per cent of Kosovo's two million people
there is no shortage of manpower. The challenge has been training and equipping
fighters, not importing them.
Western officials also discuss freezing and even seizing the bank accounts
through which the ethnic Albanian diaspora funnel money to the KLA. That would
be but a temporary inconvenience since most donations are collected in hard
currencies in cash.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 99 10:07:25 EST
32. Subject: [KDN] AFP: Albanian-Americans help fund the KLA
NEW YORK, Feb 20 (AFP) - Two hundred Albanian men file into a Brooklyn
restaurant, throwing money as they enter at tables manned by men in traditional
white dome Balkan caps. They take a seat in the ballroom-turned auditorium. They
aren't here to eat. They are here to meet Dina, a soldier with the Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA).
The KLA has grown from villagers toting hunting rifles to a sizable armed
force, with the help of volunteer donations, in large part raised by New York's
"What do they expect?," Izet, Tafilaj asks. After losing his aunt, uncle and
nephew in the fighting, the 40-year-old sold his real estate business in New
Jersey and is leaving for Kosovo to help refugees. "If they won't help us, at
least let us help ourselves," he said.
The lights go down, and the men bow their heads. A minute of silence is
followed by a video presentation. The butchered mother and child lying between a
pair of leveled homes bring home the reality of Kosovo, the Yugoslav province
quickly eclipsing Bosnia as the Balkan's most violent human catastrophe.
Speakers are interrupted every few minutes by the young men breaking out in
chant and punching their arms in unison. "Ooh Che Ke. Ooh Che Ke" (UCK is the
Albanian acronym for KLA)
Dina takes the stand. "The time is now," he yells. "Ooh Che Ke. Ooh Che Ke,"
"Let's finish the war, then talk politics."
After three hours of chanting, the room is cleared for a party being held
later that day. Five men remain at one of the tables, each counting a pile of
bills. The total is just over 30,000 dollars.
Manager Agron Qosja thinks it's a small sum, compared to other meetings,
which he holds often. "We all have an obligation to do all we can," he says
evoking a favorite Albanian saying. "Luga Luga e ben lumin." (Spoon by spoon you
build a lake.)
The KLA's guerrilla movement has flourished among these blue-collar workers,
who make up nearly two-thirds of the country's 400,000 Albanian-Americans. Many
are recent immigrants, with the strongest family ties to Kosovo.
For years they supported elected president of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova. But
after a well-publicized massacre last March left over 80 people dead in the town
of Drenecia, Rugova's credibility among many Albanian-Americans took a dive, and
the group Homeland is Calling was officially formed to coordinate fundraising
for the army.
Chapters of Homeland in Europe and throughout the world seek to furnish the
KLA with the means to gain independence for Kosovo. "We raise money here,"
Florin Krasniqi, 34, says. "They fight over there. That's how we get rid of the
The comptroller of KLA's New York donations, Florin started in October 1997
to raise money for the KLA after the murder of his cousin Adrian, the ninth
member of this family killed by Serb forces.
He has made over 20 trips to Kosovo in the past year, providing KLA soldiers
with a steady stream of money, radios, night vision equipment and bullet-proof
vests: all, he says, ordered from a catalogue on the open market.
While Homeland's estimate of 10 million dollars raised over the past year
seems exaggerated to increase the KLA's perception of power (military experts
believe it is closer to half that), the fund and equipment coming from the
United States are taken seriously by military analysts.
According to Paul Beaver of Jane's Defence Weekly, a leading publication on
the military industry, the funds pouring in from around the world are making a
"They have upgraded the war," says Beaver. "It makes a tremendous difference
against the Serbian army."
Florin expresses mild amusement that the US government is watching his
comings and goings. But he finds the system laughably lax enough to continue
unnerved. "They think we are just a bunch of crazy Albanians," he acknowledges.
"But I told (US envoy Richard) Holbrooke, if you want to go 10 years, we will.
Too much blood has been spilled. We are never going to live side by side with
33. CTK(Prague) 11 March 1999; Albanian Drug Lord and confederates
PRAGUE, March 11, 1999 (CTK) -- Prague police have succeeded in arresting a
man alleged to be one of the top bosses of the Kosovo Albanian drug mafia Princ
Dobros [Prince Dobroshi], 35, representatives of Czech and Norwegian police said
The man was arrested outside the Hilton hotel in Prague on February 23 by a
rapid reaction unit of the Czech police. His arrest was the culmination of an
operation of two years called Cage, in which Czech police cooperated with
Swedish, Danish and especially Norwegian police. During the operation 42 members
of the gang led by Dobros were arrested by police in various countries in
Scandinavia and Western Europe. On the same day Dobros's aide was caught by
police in a Prague flat. Dobros's gang was apparently entrusted with the
operation of the so called northern branch of the Balkan route, by which drugs
were smuggled from the Balkans, through the Czech Republic, and to the
Drugs Squad chief Jiri Komorous said police had evidence that Dobros had
bought weapons from the proceeds. He said there was no proof that the weapons,
which included rocket systems, were bound for Kosovo. Police are convinced that
Dobros's gang was one of the biggest Kosovar Albanian drugs gangs in Europe.
Ninety percent of the heroin bound for Scandinavia travelled via the Czech
Republic, said Komorous. Dobros was sentenced to 14 years in prison by a
Norwegian court in 1994. He managed to escape in January 1997, however, by
bribing one of the guards. He then fled to Croatia, where he underwent plastic
surgery to disguise himself.
Dobros was seized by a Czech Police rapid deployment squad on the afternoon
of February 23 as his car was waiting at a set of traffic lights in front of
Prague's Hotel Hilton. Komorous claimed his officers had acted so quickly that
Dobros was in handcuffs before the lights had changed. Dobros's right-hand man
Limani Murati was arrested at his Prague 4 flat on the same day. Police seized a
machine-gun, a Chinese rifle and a pistol. Dobros will be extradited to Norway
to serve the remainder of his sentence. The Czech authorities have still to
decide whether Murati will be extradited to Norway or tried in the Czech
Subj: Rugova meets with Albanian narco boss in Prague
From Radio B 92, March 12, 1999; Rugova Met with Kosovo-Albanian Mafia
"The leader of the Kosovo's Albanian's Ibrahim Rugova, met in December last
year, during his visit to Prague, with the boss of the Kosovo-Albanian
narco-mafia Prince Dobroshi, who was arrested at the end of the last month in
that city [Prague], claims the respectable Czech daily today 'Lidove Novini'
(LN), reports FoNet [independent news agency from Belgrade].
Rugova met Dobroshi during the banquet that followed after he received the
award for peace from the Czech foundation 'A Man in Need', LN learned from a
member of the BIS (Security & Intelligence Agency), who asked his name not
to be mentioned. Rugova's secretary of protocol, Adnan Merovci, claims, on the
other hand, that his boss during his stay in Prague did not meet any of the
Kosovo Albanians who live in Prague.
'Celebration', as he says, 'was attended by several Albanians who we did not
know and who we have never met', he added. When this statement was presented to
LN's sources, they kept their previous position that 'Rugova really spent time
talking to Dobroshi'.
`Celebration,' organized by the Fond close to Czech TV's 'A Man in Need", was
sponsored by, reminds LN, the Fund for the Development of the Civic Society,
with financial aid from the European Union. People who organized the event did
not know that the Mafia boss would take part in that conference. The daily also
claims that according to the anonymous sources from the BIS, that the weapons
that Dobroshi bought from the heroin money went to Kosovo and into the hands of
the illegal KLA.
---end of the translation
34. The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 15, 1999
Italy battling a new wave of criminals -- Albanians
Refugees are cutting into the Mafia turf.
By Jeffrey Fleishman
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
MILAN, Italy -- Agim Gashi left his family's crime business in Kosovo,
Yugoslavia, in 1992 and ended up in this fashion mecca, where police say he
became a boss in prostitution and heroin rings stretching from the ports of
Albania to the poppy fields of Turkey.
He is one of hundreds of Balkan bad guys -- mainly ethnic Albanians --
reportedly moving onto turf long controlled by the Italian Mafia. Most of
Gashi's illicit profits fueled criminal enterprises across Europe. But some,
according to Western drug-enforcement agencies, were siphoned off to buy
night-vision glasses, Kalashnikovs and bullet-proof vests for the Kosovo
Liberation Army's war against Yugoslav troops.
Gashi's crook-and-patriot tale will unfold this month in a Milan courtroom.
He is charged with conspiracy and trafficking in hundreds of millions of
dollars' worth of heroin. Italian authorities say Gashi -- arrested last fall in
an international bust -- represents Milan's newest scourge: well-armed and
ruthless Albanian thugs.
"The Albanian criminals were special from the beginning," said Francesca
Marcelli, an organized-crime investigator for the Italian government. "When
they started appearing here in 1993, they were much different than other
immigrants. They have strong motivations and are very violent.
Some of them actually pulled machine guns on the son of an Italian Mafioso.
"To do that in Italy is unbelievable."
It is that kind of tenacity, according to Italian officials, that allowed
Albanians to wrest a slice of the heroin-trafficking network in Europe from the
Turks and Kurds. It has also gained them respect among the stronger Italian
Mafia gangs, who now collaborate with Albanians on everything from numbers
running to smuggling refugees.
Crime in Milan is daily punctuated by the big and small deeds of Albanian
gangs. Police recently broke up a child-slavery ring run from an abandoned
warehouse. Crime bosses had bought 20 children for $1,000 each from their
parents in Albania. The children, according to police, were hustled onto rubber
rafts and whisked to Italy, where they were beaten and forced to work petty
street scams, turning over earnings to their masters. "It's unrefined
criminality and it's brutal," said Massimo Mazza, a Milan police commander.
The Albanian criminals prowling Milan have their roots in Albania and the
neighboring Yugoslav province of Kosovo. They are poor places with few
opportunities, and for generations, men left their families to work across
Europe and send money home. Many of the one million-strong diaspora found jobs
such as bricklayers, waiters and laborers. Others dabbled in stolen cars, petty
thievery and prostitution.
The tenor grew more desperate in the early 1990s as communism collapsed and
the region spiraled into lawlessness. In 1997, Albania, the poorest country in
Europe, erupted into nationwide riots over failed pyramid schemes that
bankrupted most families. Thousands of citizens stormed police stations and
looted one million guns. The ensuing chaos fed Albania's criminal gangs. They
were already expanding across the continent while at home the corrupt regime of
President Sali Berisha permitted drug trafficking to flourish.
In neighboring Yugoslavia, ethnic Albanian crime families were also looking
to widen their drug, prostitution and weapons-smuggling rings. Some clans,
including Gashi's, dispatched their lieutenants to countries such as Italy,
Germany and Slovakia. Their criminal endeavors, according to Italian police and
prosecutors, would eventually intersect with activities of the KLA, whose
guerrillas have fought since 1998 for independence for Kosovo's 1.8 million
Police say some Albanian crime clans, although primarily motivated by
personal greed, also funneled money and supplies to the rebels.
"When the war started in Kosovo, we noticed that some of the Kosovar crime
gangs in Italy, who were only interested in drug trafficking, suddenly became
interested in running weapons," said Carlo De Donno, a major with the special
Carabinieri undercover police forces.
De Donno's unit headed a two-year investigation, including extensive
wiretaps, on a heroin-smuggling network that led to the arrest of Gashi and 124
other Albanians, Italians, Germans, Tunisians, Spaniards and Turks over several
days last fall.
"Turkish [drug] trafficking groups are using Albanians, Yugoslavs and
elements of criminal groups from Kosovo to sell and distribute their heroin,"
according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Rome. "These
groups are believed to be a part of the financial arm of the [KLA's] war against
Serbia. These Kosovars are financing their war through drug trafficking
activities, weapons trafficking and the trafficking of other illegal goods as
well as contributions of their countrymen working abroad."
But war was years away on Jan. 22, 1992. That is when Gashi, whose clan in
Pristina, Kosovo, ran a drug-running business fronted by beauty salons and real
estate offices, arrived in Italy. He married an Italian woman and settled in
Bisceglie, a neighborhood controlled by the Calabria Mafia on the outskirts of
Milan. Other Albanians eventually followed, many crossing the Adriatic Sea in
rubber rafts with kilos of marijuana wrapped in plastic. They joined a
population of about 100,000 illegal immigrants entering northern Italy in recent
years from Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans.
"What really impressed us was Gashi's rapport with the Ndrangheta [ the
Calabria Mafia ] ," De Donno said. "He was a foreigner, but he stayed on very
good terms with them. Gashi began buying drugs, and his market widened. He was
much like the Turkish criminals who moved into Milan in the 1980s."
But Gashi did not limit himself to Italy, according to police and
prosecutors. He opened a beauty salon in London to launder money and had
interests in Hungary, Germany and Norway, said De Donno, adding that authorities
from each of these countries cooperated in his investigation. As Gashi was
expanding his enterprises in the mid-1990s, other Albanian names began appearing
on Milan's police blotters.
Two of them were Kosovar brothers Adem and Avni Igrhista, who in 1995 began a
shipping business with the cover of importing nuts and cotton T-shirts from
"Hidden inside their imported crates were packets of heroin," said Marcelli,
the Italian investigator. "This case showed us that the Albanians were becoming
stronger. For example, the brothers used Italians as their runners to pick up
the crates at Leonardo da Vinci Airport [ in Rome ] . Before, it was the
Albanians who were the runners."
Authorities say Gashi controlled Milan's most powerful Albanian gang and
stayed connected to Ekrem Gashi, another relative of the Gashi clan in Kosovo.
Ekrem, who ran drugs throughout the Balkans, was murdered two weeks ago when
several men brandishing Kalashnikovs sprayed his Mercedes with bullets in front
of a Pristina cafe. Police say the murder was ordered by a rival clan.
Special undercover police forces and court records say Agim Gashi was part of
a network that operated like this: Albanians acquired heroin and cocaine from
clans inside Turkey. The cache would move west to the capitals of Bulgaria,
Slovakia and Hungary. From there it was dispersed into smaller amounts and sent
across Europe by couriers -- mostly Germans driving BMWs and Mercedeses.
"Every day cars with 10 to 15 kilos [ 22 to 33 pounds ] of heroin would cross
the border into Italy," De Donno said. Much of the heroin fell under the domain
of the Ndrangheta and other Italian gangs. Cooperation between small Albanian
gangs and the powerful Italian Mafia has run smoothly, but some investigators
say the Albanians' penchant for control may upset things.
"What we're seeing now," said Maurizio Romanelli, an anti-Mafia prosecutor,
"is North Africans and other immigrants selling heroin on the street for
Albanian bosses. It shows a hierarchy is developing among the immigrants."
The Albanians have been fighting among themselves over the last two years for
larger shares of the drug and prostitution markets. In August 1997, Albanian
boss Naim Zyberi was killed execution-style.
Zyberi, who ran drug and extortion rackets in the Albanian capital, Tirana,
had come to Milan to get a stake in the heroin trade. "He tried to impose his
rules, but the clans opposed him, so he tried to find his own gang," homicide
detective Nicola Lupidi said. "He then went to another Albanian group and stole
50 million lire [ $28,100 ] The group came after him, and there was a shoot-out.
Zyberi was shot in the leg and taken to a hospital. Days later, two hit men were
sent from Albania and they finished him off in his hospital bed."
"It was amazing," investigator Marcelli said. "Like something out of a
Scorsese movie." By the spring of last year, however, the battles among the
Albanian clans cooled when they united behind -- and took advantage of -- the
KLA's war against the Serb forces in Yugoslavia. When the war began 13 months
ago, many KLA rebels carried only single-shot rifles. They are armed today with
everything from satellite phones to antitank weapons.
"When the war started, these feuding clans came together," De Donno said.
"They became unified. All they ever talked about was weapons and money. They
were very interested in night-vision glasses and bulletproof vests. All the
things you'd need to fight a guerrilla war. . . . Some of them were even
motivated by patriotism."
Gashi was sending money and materials back to Kosovo for other endeavors,
too. "He built a big villa in Pristina," De Donno said. "All the marble and
stone was imported directly from Italy."
© 1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
35. The Times: Drugs Money Linked to Kosovo Rebels
The Times of London
March 24 1999
The KLA Drugs money linked to the Kosovo rebels
FROM ROGER BOYES AND ESKE WRIGHT IN BONN
THE Kosovo Liberation Army, which has won the support of the West for its
guerrilla struggle against the heavy armour of the Serbs, is a Marxist-led force
funded by dubious sources, including drug money.
That is the judgment of senior police officers across Europe. An
investigation by The Times has established that police forces in three Western
European countries, together with Europol, the European police authority, are
separately investigating growing evidence that drug money is funding the KLA's
leap from obscurity to power.
The financing of the Kosovo guerrilla war poses critical questions and it
sorely tests claims to an "ethical" foreign policy. Should the West back a
guerrilla army that appears to be partly financed by organised crime? Could the
KLA's need for funds be fuelling the heroin trade across Europe?
The KLA has become an essential component of the Kosovo peace agreement;
without it, there would be no equal negotiating partner for the Belgrade
In military terms, it is in no sense equal to the Serb forces. But it has
grown from a theoretical notion to an often successful, very mobile and very
visible guerrilla grouping in a remarkably short time.
Much of the money funding the KLA is believed to come from legitimate sources
- raised by the People's Movement of Kosovo, which is the political wing of the
resistance movement. There are about 500,000 Kosovan Albanians in Western Europe
who send money back home because it funds healthcare for their cousins. However,
some of this cash is believed to be siphoned off for the military.
As well as diverting charit-able donations from exiled Kosovans, some of the
KLA money is thought to come from drug dealing.
Sweden is investigating suspicions of a KLA drug connection. "We have
intelligence leading us to believe that there could be a connection between drug
money and the Kosovo Liberation Army," said Walter Kege, head of the drug
enforcement unit in the Swedish police intelligence service.
Supporting intelligence has come from other states. "We have yet to find
direct evidence, but our experience tells us that the channels for trading hard
drugs are also used for weapons," said one Swiss police commander.
An official in the Bavarian Interior Ministry also told The Times of a recent
fundraising meeting involving some 200 Kosovans in southern Germany. "At the end
of the session they raised DM100,000 [about £40,000]."
This represents a huge sum for ordinary Kosovans and fuels speculation that
apparently legitimate fundraising activities are used to launder dirty money.
One Western intelligence report quoted by Berliner Zeitung says that DM900
million has reached Kosovo since the guerrillas began operations and half the
sum is said to be illegal drug money.
In particular, European countries are investigating the Albanian connection:
whether Kosovan Albanians living primarily in Germany and Switzerland are
creaming off the profits from inner-city heroin dealing and sending the cash to
Albania - which plays a key role in channelling money to the Kosovans - is at
the hub of Europe's drug trade. An intelligence report which was prepared by
Germany's Federal Criminal Agency concluded: "Ethnic Albanians are now the most
prominent group in the distribution of heroin in Western consumer countries."
Europol, which is based in The Hague, is preparing a report for European
interior and justice ministers on a connection between the KLA and Albanian drug
Police in the Czech Republic recently tracked down a Kosovo Albanian drug
dealer named Doboshi who had escaped from a Norwegian prison where he was
serving 12 years for heroin trading. A raid on Doboshi's apartment turned up
documents linking him with arms purchases for the KLA.
Police sources in Germany have made plain their suspicions: the sudden
ascendancy of Kosovan Albanians in the heroin trade in Switzerland, Germany and
Scandinavia coincides with the sudden growth of the KLA from a ragamuffin
peasants' army two years ago to a 30,000-strong force equipped with grenade
launchers, anti-tank weapons and AK47s.
36. "KLA Funding Tied To Heroin Profits"
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times
Washington Times, May 3, 1999, Pg. 1
The Kosovo Liberation Army, which the Clinton administration has embraced and
some members of Congress want to arm as part of the NATO bombing campaign, is a
terrorist organization that has financed much of its war effort with profits
from the sale of heroin.
Recently obtained intelligence documents show that drug agents in five
countries, including the United States, believe the KLA has aligned itself with
an extensive organized crime network centered in Albania that smuggles heroin
and some cocaine to buyers throughout Western Europe and, to a lesser extent,
the United States.
The documents tie members of the Albanian Mafia to a drug smuggling cartel
based in Kosovo's provincial capital, Pristina. The cartel is manned by ethic
Albanians who are members of the Kosovo National Front, whose armed wing is the
KLA. The documents show it is one of the most powerful heroin smuggling
organizations in the world, with much of its profits being diverted to the KLA
to buy weapons.
The clandestine movement of drugs over a collection of land and sea routes
from Turkey through Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia to Western Europe and
elsewhere is so frequent and massive that intelligence officials have dubbed the
circuit the "Balkan Route." Mr. Clinton has committed air power and is
considering the use of ground troops to support the Kosovo rebels against
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Last week, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
Republican, and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, called on the
United States to arm the KLA so ethnic Albanians in Kosovo could defend
themselves against the Serbs.
Mr. McConnell and Mr. Lieberman introduced a bill that would provide $25
million to equip 10,000 men or 10 battalions with small arms and anti-tank
weapons for up to 18 months. In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA
-- formally known as the Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves, or UCK -- as an
international terrorist organization, saying it had bankrolled its operations
with proceeds from the international heroin trade and from loans from known
terrorists like Osama bin Laden.
"They were terrorists in 1998 and now, because of politics, they're freedom
fighters," said one top drug official who asked not to be identified.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in a recent report, said the heroin
is smuggled along the Balkan Route in cars, trucks and boats initially to
Austria, Germany and Italy, where it is routed to eager buyers in France,
Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Great Britain.
Some of the white powder, the DEA report said, finds its way to the United
The DEA report, prepared for the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumer's
Committee (NNICC), said a majority of the heroin seized in Europe is transported
over the Balkan Route. It said drug smuggling organizations composed of Kosovo's
ethnic Albanians were considered "second only to Turkish gangs as the
predominant heroin smugglers along the Balkan Route." The NNICC is a coalition
of federal agencies involved in the war on drugs.
"Kosovo traffickers were noted for their use of violence and for their
involvement in international weapons trafficking," the DEA report said.
A separate DEA document, written last month by U.S. drug agents in Austria,
said that while the war in the former Yugoslavia had reduced the drug flow to
Western Europe along the Balkan Route, new land routes have opened across
Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The report said, however, the diversion
appeared to be only temporary. The DEA estimated that between four and six
metric tons of heroin leaves each month from Turkey bound for Western Europe,
the bulk of it traveling over the Balkan Route.
A second high-ranking U.S. drug official, who also requested anonymity, said
government and police corruption in Kosovo, along with widespread poverty
throughout the region, had contributed to an increase in heroin trafficking by
the KLA and other ethnic Albanians. The official said drug smuggling is "out of
control" and little is being done by neighboring states to get a handle on it.
"This is the definition of the wild, wild West," said the official. "The bombing
has slowed it down, but has not brought it to a halt. And, eventually, it will
pick up where it left off." The heroin trade along the Balkan Route has been of
concern to several countries:
*The Greek representative of Interpol reported in 1998 that Kosovo's ethnic
Albanians were "the primary sources of supply for cocaine and heroin in that
*Intelligence officials in France said in a recent report the KLA was among
several organizations in southern Europe that had built a vast drug-smuggling
network. France's Geopolitical Observatory of Drugs said in the report that the
KLA was a key player in the rapidly expanding drugs-for-arms business and helped
transport $2 billion worth of drugs annually into Western Europe.
*German drug agents have estimated that $1.5 billion in drug profits is
laundered annually by Kosovo smugglers, through as many as 200 private banks or
currency-exchange offices. They noted in a recent report that ethnic Albanians
had established one of the most prominent drug smuggling organizations in
Jane's Intelligence Review estimated in March that drug sales could have
netted the KLA profits in the "high tens of millions of dollars." The highly
regarded British-based journal noted at the time that the KLA had rearmed itself
for a spring offensive with the aid of drug money, along with donations from
Albanians in Western Europe and the United States.
Several leading intelligence officials said the KLA has, in part, financed
its purchase of AK-47s, semiautomatic rifles, shotguns, handguns, grenade
launchers, ammunition, artillery shells, explosives, detonators and
anti-personnel mines through drug profits -- cash laundered through banks in
Italy, Germany and Switzerland. They also said KLA rebels have paid for weapons
using the heroin itself as currency. The profits, according to the officials,
also have been used to purchase anti-aircraft and anti-armor rockets, along with
electronic surveillance equipment.
The London Telegraph, May 5, 1999
37, Money Laundering: MI6 "Investigates" Crime Links to KLA
THE secret support network across Europe and America providing help to the
Kosovo Liberation Army is being investigated by MI6 and other intelligence
agencies after allegations that organised crime plays a central role.
Most of the investigation work has been focused on Switzerland where the KLA
is known to have set up a complex network of accounts to channel funds raised
from the Albanian and Kosovar diaspora. Some accounts have been found to breach
Swiss banking standards and have been closed down.
Support comes from shadowy groups known mainly by their acronyms. The KLA is
supported by the LPK and LNCK but challenged by the LDK and tolerated by the
LBD, formed out of the LDS. Each group has a clear interest in the future of
Kosovo and there is intense rivalry as they try to build large fighting funds to
help to pay for the political battle that will follow the war.
It is not known whether links with organised crime were proven and some
accounts were found to be legal. The investigations have forced the KLA to be
even more cunning in concealing its financial trail.
The investigations were launched after repeated accusations, mainly from
Belgrade, that the KLA was funded largely by organised crime including drugs
trafficking and the smuggling of non-Europeans into the EU. Belgrade repeatedly
said the KLA was a terrorist organisation with similarities to the IRA, which
has criminal backers.
The West's attitude is equivocal. State Department spokesmen are holding back
from giving absolute backing to the KLA. Current investigations will go a long
way to establishing whether the KLA is a genuine, popular freedom fighting group
or a front for criminals.
Since Albania's Cold War isolation ended in 1991, the country's large and
rapidly growing diaspora has begun to challenge the Sicilian Mafia for control
of large-scale crime in the West. While it is true that Albanian criminals are
proliferating in some parts of the West, the connection between them and the KLA
is not so clear, notwithstanding Belgrade's propaganda.
What the Western agencies, including the Secret Intelligence Service, have
found is a sophisticated network of accounts and companies set up to process
funds that the KLA says were raised legally as voluntary contributions from
supporters in the ethnic Albanian diaspora. Western investigators first had to
distinguish between funds raised for the KLA and funds raised for rival Kosovo
The KLA's precursor was a secretive party known as the Popular Movement for
Kosovo (LPK) set up in Germany after the 1982 assassination of three Kosovar
Albanians in Bonn. The LPK was known to have Marxist-Leninist pretences in the
early days but those are believed to have been diluted since the armed struggle
began on a large scale last year with the KLA appearing in uniform in Kosovo.
The KLA's main rival was the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the party of
Ibrahim Rugova, which stood on a ticket of peaceful, Gandhi-style, non
co-operation in Kosovo. The LDK is more politically sophisticated and in 1992 it
organised what it called free and fair elections in Kosovo, still subject to
strict Serb control, and elected a government which was forced to operate in
exile in western Europe. Kosovars were encouraged to provide funds for the LDK
through voluntary donations.
The KLA soon learnt the same trick and letters went round to the Kosovar
diaspora asking for funds. Some of the methods of persuasion were believed to be
erring on the strong side.
The London Times; July 24 1999 BALKANS
38. Kosovo is Mafia's 'heroin gateway to West'
FROM EVE-ANN PRENTICE IN BELGRADE
THE Kosovo conflict has turned the province into a magnet for many of the
world's notorious drug barons, according to a director of the International
Narcotics Enforcement Officers' Association.
More than 40 per cent of the heroin reaching Western Europe comes through the
Serb province because of a lack of border controls, says Marko Nicovic.
"Kosovo is now the Colombia of Europe. There is no border between Kosovo and
Albania or between Macedonia and Kosovo," he said yesterday. "For the Turkish,
Russian, Italian and Albanian mafias," Kosovo really had become a paradise.
Mr Nicovic is a former Belgrade police chief and drug squad detective who
worked for years in co-operation with police in Britain and the US. He says he
began to notice Albanian gangs dealing in drugs in the mid-1980s.
Heroin trafficking increased, he says, after Yugoslavia lost its membership
of Interpol with the imposition of international sanctions in 1993. "Our police
had great expertise and experience with this," Mr Nicovic says. The Kosovo
conflict has left the province without police or customs controls and "Kfor
soldiers are not criminal investigators".
Mr Nicovic said drugs were being brought into Kosovo from Asia and Turkey,
then taken on to Western Europe by road and sea by drug barons from Italy and
Mr Nicovic says many Kosovo Albanians have bought harbourside sites in
Albania in the past few years. Much of the heroin shipped from there to small
ports in southeastern Italy are run by Italian Mafiosi. Other favourite routes
are by road, north through Serbia to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Germany, he
The former Yugoslav drugs squad chief says the Albanian drugs and arms mafia
is particularly hard to penetrate. Albanians have strong family ties and it is
hard to find informers. "They have a brotherhood which gives them a far greater
ability to form a mafia than even the Sicilians."
Mr Nicovic says hundreds of pounds of heroin are being stored in the village
of Veliki Trnovac, near Gnjiliane, in the southeast of Kosovo, and Djakovica in
the west. "The criminals have found the one country between Asia and Europe
which is not a member of Interpol," he says.
"This is a cancer area for Europe as Western Europe will very soon discover.
As each day passes the Albanian mafia becomes richer and more powerful."
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