Albanian ex-dictator's grandson imprisoned for cocaine trafficking

An Albanian court has jailed the grandson of the country’s late communist dictator Enver Hoxha and eight associates for trafficking cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe, a statement said on Wednesday.

Ermal Hoxha is part of a nine-member group, which includes two Columbians, whose were served prison terms from 10 to 13 years on Tuesday, a Tirana court said.

They were found guilty of belonging to a "criminal group involved in cocaine trafficking from Cuba through Albania to west European countries," the court statement said.

Hoxha, 42, and his alleged accomplices were arrested in January 2015 in an operation which led to the seizure of 120 kilogrammes (264 pounds) of cocaine.

At the time police also uncovered a drug processing laboratory in Xibraka, 68 kilometres (40 miles) south of Tirana.

A 2017 US State Department report said Albania "remains a significant source country for marijuana, as well as a transit route for cocaine and heroin destined for European markets."

Enver Hoxha ruled Albania from 1944 till his death in 1985 — five years before a student revolt overthrew the isolationist communist regime. He isolated the Balkan country and imposed a strict dictatorial regime.