Albania Opposition Urges Interior Minister to Quit

The opposition has called for the resignation of Interior Minister Sajmir Tahiri, accusing him of ties to the criminals who use planes to trade Albanian-produced marijuana with Italy.

Albanian Interior Minister Sajmir Tahiri told parliament that he does not intend to resign and called on the General Prosecutor to investigate oposition claims about his alleged crime links to drugs smugglers.
The opposition claims Tahiri has links to drug dealers and that the police have been infiltrated by criminal elements that protect the drug traffic routes.
Tahiri says that he has waged a “war against drugs” that destroyed about “630,000 cannabis plants this year”.
Albanian police routinely notify the media about massive operations against marijuana plantations but plenty of marijuana is still produced in the country.
Opposition claims intensified lately after a police officer was arrested in a joint operation between Italian and Albanian police, suspected of supplying smugglers with information about police operations.
In the same operation on 26 August, a small plane was seized in the southern Italian town of Brindizi with 120 kilograms of marijuana on board.
Italian media on Monday said the police seized another small plane in the northern region of Piedmont, carrying drugs from Albania to Italy.
According to the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, while four persons, including two Albanians, were arrested, the organizers of the drug trade seemed to be located in Albania.
The opposition Democratic Party claimed early on in 2014 that a well-structured criminal organization was transporting drugs to Italy, using small planes.
The idea seemed a fantasy at that time but on May 2014, an Italian pilot crash-landed his plane on Divjaka beach, confirming the smuggling route.
On January 2015, an Albanian army pilot died when his helicopter carrying marijuana from Morocco to Spain, crashed. There is no information to suggest that he was connected with Albanian criminal groups discovered transporting drugs to Italy, however.

9 September 2015