Albanian officials to step up fight against organized crime

Albania's Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj and General Prosecutor Arta Marku | Youtube snapshot

Albania's Minister of Interior and Prosecutor General on Friday signed an agreement to step up efforts in the fight against organized crime, an official statement said. The two officials also agreed to establish an institutional task force to boost the force of law.

The agreement, signed by Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj and General Prosecutor Arta Marku, aims at enhancing cooperation between two institutions in order to carry out an overall investigation into criminal gangs here, said Xinhua news agency.

"The object of this agreement is rapid, specialized and overall investigation into criminal gangs of high social risk in the field of organized crime and mainly criminal gangs involved in narcotics trafficking, serious crimes, corruption and financial crime, seizure of criminal assets in the territory of the Republic of Albania," read the agreement.

The agreement was signed as opposition parties accuse the government of not seriously engaging in the fight against crime.

Organized crimes are the general terms used for criminal organizations based in Albania or composed of ethnic Albanians. Albanian organized crime is highly active in Europe, North America, South America, and various other parts of the world including the Middle East and Asia. The Albanian Mafia participates in a diverse range of criminal enterprises including trafficking in drugs, arms, humans, and human organs.

Albania’s location on the Adriatic coast makes it a prime transit point for international crime, such as the ones mentioned above and others including trafficking, smuggling, and the related crimes of witness intimidation, document fraud, money laundering, and corruption of public officials. Organized crime and corruption remain the greatest obstacles to the development of Albanian civil society and economy. Government agencies have made little progress to improve their ability to investigate and fight crime.