Italian police arrest three and seize 170kg of heroin (AFP, Aug. 9)

Rome: Italian police arrested three suspected Albanian drug traffickers and seized 170kg of heroin on Tuesday in one of the biggest anti-drug operations in recent years, officials said.

The criminal gang had allegedly been trafficking heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan, through the Balkans and into Italy. Traffickers were taken by surprise as they were refining heroin, the police said.

Durim Vishkurti, 31 years old, Sokol Cota, 35 and Ermal Dorda, 25, were arrested in an operation launched in the provinces of Verona and Padova in an operation led by the Venice anti-mafia squad.

Investigators had put the suspected North African and Italian drug-pushers under surveillance which led them to two houses in northeast Italy, one of which acted as a laboratory.

The investigation has lasted a year and four other Albanian suspected drug traffickers had already been arrested by customs in the preceding months.

In a note to Liz Milanovich, who circulated the item above, Dragan in Strasbourg wrote:

Before I was retired, I experienced such sort of arrests of Albanian drug dealers; they were arrested by the French police, they were kept in custody for 24 hours, then either released because they presented themselves like “refugees” from Kosovo, and sent back to Serbia, or they had former Yugoslav passports, and again they were sent to Serbia, because the Kosovo authorities would not accept them.

Once again, Serbia signed the agreement of extradition of criminals and illegal emigrants, [some]thing that Kosovo’s Albanians did not do. I would not be surprised if these Albanians finish somewhere in Serbia…

This reminds me of something that a retired NYC cop friend told me recently about the 1999 immigration of Albanian “refugees” under the Clintons. At the time, his friend was working the immigration customs desk at JFK airport, and he related how he would frequently try to turn back a “refugee” because of a criminal record. One after another, the immigration officer got the go-ahead from a superior to let the Albanian criminal through anyway. Until — because of the frequency of such interruptions — an order came down from the heights of Washington to just let them all through and ignore the criminal records. A policy was in place, and appearances had to be kept up.

It’s embarrassing that, without really thinking about it, I’d assumed the powers in Washington — given their notorious stupidity — might have been surprised by the subsequent criminal pursuits of their 1999 Albanian proteges. Indeed, they knew all along. One might have assumed.