Albanian bandits demand money from refugees in Durres. 1997
Article Albania after the death of Enver Hoxha we also spoke about the disappointing demographic situation in this country.
The population in Albania is now decreasing, including due to active emigration, which has been greatly facilitated after the EU abolished entry visas for citizens of this country (since December 15, 2010). The visa-free regime (the receipt of which is credited to the authorities of today's Ukraine) hit Albania hard, literally bleeding it, actually depriving the intelligentsia (45% of scientists and 65% of doctors of sciences left the country) and the most educated, active and active young people who prefer to get a job by profession in prosperous countries of the European Union.
But not all of them were lucky. So, it is known that in 2015 in Germany only 57% of immigrants from Eastern Europe who came to this country could get a job (for migrants from Asian and African countries, this figure is even less).
The rest (43%), at best,
"Got on social benefits",
at worst, they joined the ranks of various ethnic criminal gangs.
And many Albanians are also "joining" the ranks of gangs organized by the "old-timers": Albanian criminal communities, thanks to the constant influx of ordinary performers, have significantly increased their influence and are now considered the most dangerous and brutal in Europe.
Enver Hoxha was accused and reproached for the low standard of living in Albania: critics, apparently, believe that only the "communist regime" prevented the Albanians from living as well as the citizens of Germany or Great Britain (as he "prevented" Ukrainians, Georgians, Moldovans and many others).
However, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, it turned out that Albania was not inhabited by Finns or Swedes, but Albanians, who quickly remembered that they were warriors, hacking dealers and
“Invincible heroes who since birth know no other game than weapons».
And Europeans or Americans to reproach them for this is as ridiculous as regretting that a tiger taken to a city apartment does not behave like a domestic cat.
Under the “communist regime”, Albanians had to pretend to be philistines, but now they could fully “prove themselves”, especially in countries whose rulers are absolutely not like the Albanians understandable (and therefore authoritative) Enver Hoxha.
Since olden times, under the command of robber princes like Kara Mahmud and Ali Pasha of Yaninsky and Tepelin, Albanians made dashing raids on the lands of their neighbors. Now, under the leadership of criminal "leaders" like Alex Rudaj or Luan Plakichi (which will be discussed later), they are "partisans" on the territory of peoples and states alien to them.
Criminal business of immigrants from Albania
It is believed that the first Albanian "mafiosi" who settled in Europe after the fall of socialist rule in this country and the resignation of Ramiz Alia, began their careers in Turkish and Kurdish criminal groups that specialized in supplying heroin and marijuana to the Old World.
However, very soon, after looking around and assessing the situation, they themselves took control of almost all drug traffic. The former owners were forced to retreat, the most stubborn and intractable were killed in the most cruel way.
Other attractive spheres of activity for Albanian "gangsters" were the arms trade and control of the sex industry. Back in 1997, an Interpol report was released, which recommended paying more attention to Albanian ethnic groups.
And in 2006, the FBI already noted in its report that Albanian "families" are squeezing out Italian, Greek and Asian crime clans and
"Take control of US airports and seaports."
Albanian clans in the USA
In the United States, small Albanian criminal groups have been known since the mid-80s. XX century. However, they were then mainly engaged in petty theft and street robberies. Everything changed after the collapse of Yugoslavia and the fall of the Iron Curtain in Albania.
Jeremy Capechi, an American expert on organized crime, claims that the "old and dying" Irish, Cuban, Russian, Chinese, Greek and other criminal groups can no longer seriously compete with the Albanians for
"The right to be called a real mafia" ("for what the FBI calls traditional organized crime, the mafia").
“It cannot yet be said that Albanian groups dominate, but they are the ones who commit the most brutal and daring crimes,”
- Manhattan Borough Attorney Michael Garcia said on May 31, 2008.
By the way, some experts believe that it was the Albanians who were the first to use this type of fraud with bank cards, such as "skimming" (the use of an overlay on the ATM keyboard and a skimmer that allows you to read card data and make a duplicate): the first cases of skimming were recorded in New York in the 90s. last century.
In 2002, one of the members of the Polish criminal group Kielbasa Posse ("Squad of sausages"), operating in Philadelphia, said in an anonymous interview that they were ready to do business with even the Italians, even with the Dominicans, even with the Russians, even with the “blacks”. but not with the Albanians, because those
Too unpredictable and too violent.
He also said that the Albanians
"Are like the early Sicilian mafia, hypersensitive to any kind of abuse and quick in retaliation."
Albanian criminal group Alex Rudaj (Rudai) in New York entered into confrontation with the famous Italian "families" Gambino and Lucchese.
Rudage made a name for himself in 2003, when, having appeared with a crowd of armed bandits in the Italian restaurant "Rios" (East Harlem), demanded to secure the name table of John Gotti - the famous "godfather" of the Gambino clan, who died a year ago.
This is about him in 2018, the film "The Gotti Code" was shot with Travolta in the title role (6 nominations for the "Golden Raspberry" anti-award).
John Travolta, "Kodeks Gotti"
Thus, Rudage declared himself the heir and successor of the mafia "king" of New York.
Then he took over the Soccer Fever club, which belonged to the Gambino family. Then he smashed the underground gambling houses of the Lucchese clan, which competed with his own establishments.
In 2004, at one of the gas stations, a personal meeting between Alex Rudage and the head of the Gambino clan Arnold Squitieri took place. The Albanian took only 6 armed "soldiers" for it, the Italian had 20 of them. When Rudage threatened to blow up the gas station, the Italians preferred to retreat.
The incident was recorded by FBI agents who were monitoring Squitieri. In the end, in 2006, Rudage received 27 years in prison, Squitieri - only 7. This exchange, ultimately, turned out to be in favor of the Italians, who retained their structures, while the Albanians, with the arrest of Rudage and 22 of his militants (all of them were his relatives ) have weakened significantly.
2003 to 2007 in New York, Connecticut and Michigan there was an Albanian "Krasniki Organization", named after its "leader".
The arrest of Bruno Krasniki
Another authoritative Albanian "brigadier" in New York was Kshevdet Leka, about whom Hoffman and Hadley wrote in their book on the American underworld, "The Assassin by Contract":
“He didn’t like the Italians and they retreated, fearing his cruelty ... There was no way to stop him, and the other mafiosi knew it.”
But a certain Albanian John Alit, on the contrary, became the head of one of the brigades of the aforementioned John Gotti and was convicted of complicity in murders and racketeering.
The only "drawback" of the Albanian criminal communities in the United States is their relative small number, which they are trying to compensate for with the cruelty and cohesion of their ranks.
Albanian "families" in Europe
The presence of Albanian "families" has long been noted in other countries. It was noticed that at first they establish active contacts with local "authorities", and then they seek to "squeeze out" their "business".
Albanians have seriously pressed local criminal communities in many European countries - both local and ethnic, brutally eliminating competitors and establishing their own "rules of the game." It is in European countries that the positions of the Albanian criminal "syndicates" are the strongest at the present time.
In Italy, they managed to "persuade to cooperate" the famous Sicilian "Cosa Nostra", the Neapolitan "Camorra", the Apulian "Sacra crown Unit" and the Calabrian Ndrangheta, whose leaders were not ready for such a fierce confrontation and preferred to give up part of the drug market, gambling business , illegal migration and prostitution. In Naples, for example, the Albanian clan of Ibrahim Khabibovich is "successfully working".
Roberto Saviano, a journalist specializing in materials about Italian mafia structures, argues that Albanian clans quite easily came to an understanding with local "families" because they had common "concepts" and similar ideas about honor.
The fact is that for the Italian "godfathers" there have always been and will be strangers to gangs not based on family ties. But the Albanian criminal clans, like the Italian Cosa Nostra, are organized according to the family principle, and the norms of behavior within the “family” are determined by the Besё code (literally “trust”), which is extremely similar to the Sicilian “Omerta”.
Members of the Albanian clan, who have made a "vow of mutual trust", take the obligation to protect "their own" even at the cost of their lives and not to extradite any of them. The backbone of the group consists of relatives (and families in Albania are very large, it includes absolutely all relatives, even the most distant ones, and the number of men in an average Albanian family is about 300 people).
It is the family members who occupy a privileged position in the clan; sometimes fellow villagers who are well known to the bosses (crietars) are allowed into this narrow circle (in the south of Albania this happens more often than in the north).
Marko Nicovic, the former head of the Anti-Narcotics Division of the Belgrade Police Directorate, said in an interview:
“For many years we tried to trace the Albanian drug supply channels, but it was impossible, since only members of the family clan were involved in heroin. And without introducing your person into this chain, nothing can be done. Therefore, Albanians today are the biggest problem for the police in Western countries. "
Strangers in the Albanian crime clans can carry out one-time assignments, or be used as "cannon fodder", they are not considered full members of the "family".
In other countries, be it Greece, Germany or Turkey, Albanians also prefer to “work” not with local “mafiosi”, but with representatives of their diaspora.
The Italians did not let the Albanians into their territory unselfishly: against the background of the intensification of the struggle of local authorities with mafia structures, many "godfathers" moved their "offices" to the city of Vlora, whose administration has been controlled by one of the local clans since the 1997 uprising. They feel more comfortable here.
In 1999, one of the main "bosses" of the Apulian "Sacra Corona Unit" was arrested only in the Albanian city of Durres, where he came from Vlora "on business".
Again, we must not forget that the Albanians-longing professing Catholicism have long been living in Italy. Some of them, being citizens of Italy and the European Union, have become intermediaries between the "families" of these countries.
Tosca in Italy
Albanian criminal groups are now believed to control up to 80% of heroin shipments to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Norway.
In addition to drug trafficking, Albanians have taken control of a significant share of the "market" of the arms trade and the sex industry (from prostitution to the production of pornography).
They are very influential, for example, in Great Britain. Back in 1991, only 338 Albanians lived in this country, in 2019 there were already 47 thousand people who arrived from Albania, and 29 thousand Kosovar Albanians.
Currently, Albanian groups in Britain control up to 75% of the sex market and are involved in the smuggling and sale of drugs. One of the bosses of the Albanian "mafia" in the UK, Luan Plakici, was sentenced to 23 years for "trafficking in women", whom his subordinates brought to the UK from Eastern Europe and Asia, promising employment not related to prostitution.
But these pictures are now being posted on Instagram by members of the Albanian diaspora in Great Britain:
Albanians were also among the robbers who "seized" 21 million pounds sterling from the vault of Securitas (ironically specializing in the security of transportation and real estate) on February 2006, 53 - this is the largest robbery in stories UK.
38 people were arrested and one shot while trying to resist. It was possible to find only 21 million, the remaining money, apparently, will await the release of their new owners from prison. It is ethnic Albanians who, by the way, prevail now among those inmates in British prisons (in second place are Poles).
In Germany, Albanian groups operate in all major cities, but their position is especially strong in Hamburg, where the clan headed by the Osmani brothers is very influential. The sphere of their activity is quite traditional - drug trafficking and "protection" of legal brothels and prostitutes, "working" illegally. In this field, they have strongly pushed other ethnic gangs.
In Spain, Albanian "brigades" control the drug trade and the sex industry, with the strongest in Madrid and the southern Costa del Sol region.
In Geneva, Switzerland, they are involved in drug trafficking and money laundering through their restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels. In 2009, 2400 ethnic Albanians were serving time in prisons in prosperous Switzerland: all of them were arrested for drug trafficking.
A certain Nasser Kshelili led a group that supplies drugs to the Swedes.
The chief investigator of the Danish Organized Crime Authority, Kim Cleaver, also acknowledged the problem, saying that
"The ethnic Albanian mafia is very powerful and extremely violent."
A certain Albanian Kapplan Murat, a member of Patrick Hemers' gang, back in 1989 became one of the organizers of the abduction of Belgian Prime Minister Paul Venden Boeinents, for whom a ransom of 30 million Belgian francs had to be paid.
At the same time, in Europe, gangs from Albania and Kosovo (also Albanian) often compete with each other, since they represent different "families".
"Business" of Albanian "families" outside Europe and the USA
Albanians supply drugs to China, instead of taking out prostitutes from there to brothels in Europe and the United States.
In Australia, they are infiltrating through the Albanian and Croatian communities of Sydney and Brisbane, and, as local law enforcement officials believe, are trying to legalize members of the "families" by sending them to study at local universities.
In Canada, the influence of Albanian groups is very strong in Montreal and Toronto, where, in addition to drug trafficking, they are engaged in medical insurance scams and are trying to infiltrate the real estate market.
Banks in Israel are being used by Albanians for money laundering, which has raised concerns about Justice Department Director General Rotkopf Guy.
"Families" of Albania
In Albania itself, according to various sources, there are currently from 15 to 30 family clans with very romantic names:
Kosovo also has 15 to 20 Albanian clans. Each of them controls their territory. In addition, there is a "division of labor": the Abazi clan, for example, working closely with Italian "families", supplies Europe with children and women for brothels.
Slave trade centers in modern Albania
Criminal activity in Albania
The Albanian Kamila clan is believed to be one of the five largest drug cartels in the world, earning up to 500 million euros a year.
Albanian criminal clans have from 3 to 4 levels of "initiation", members of the lower group know practically nothing about the higher structures of the clan and, even being arrested, they, as a rule, cannot tell the investigators anything significant, since there is no valuable information own.
A tragicomic incident occurred in Albania with George W. Bush, who visited this country in June 2017: after meeting with the peasants of the village of Fouche Kruya, the President of the United States ... lost a watch that was never returned to him.
One of the biggest bosses of the "Albanian mafia" was Clement Balili, who was considered a major businessman in Albania, was personally acquainted with the country's President Ilir Meta and sponsored the Socialist Movement for Integration Party.
After the arrest of the people of Balili (who tried to bring 700 kg of marijuana into this country), the Greek authorities demanded the arrest of the "entrepreneur" since 2016. But only in 2019 (after the intervention of the US Ambassador) Balili was arrested and sentenced to 10 years.
In addition, two Albanian prime ministers, Sali Berisha (former president) and Edi Rama, and Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army), who once became famous for the phrase, were suspected of having links with criminal clans:
"Soon all of Europe will have to learn the Albanian language."
In the next article we will talk about the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.