United States Department of State classifies Albania as a significant source country for marijuana even for the last year 2016. In the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report made public on March 2017, they underlined that despite the arrests Albania remains as well a transit route for cocaine and heroin destined for European markets.
“Albania remains a significant source country for marijuana, as well as a transit route for cocaine and heroin destined for European markets. While Albanian authorities reported an increase in arrests and destruction of cannabis plantations in 2016, there were also reports of increased cannabis cultivation within the country. Albanian authorities continued regional cooperation with Italian Police surveillance units, and the number of drug surveillance flights increased from the previous year. With the exception of cannabis, Albania is not a significant producer of illicit drugs, precursor chemicals, or synthetic drugs. The Government of Albania does not maintain drug-use prevalence statistics. Except for marijuana, illegal drug use does not appear to be common,” says the report.
It underlines that according to Albanian State Police (ASP), a total of 30.14 metric tons (MT) of marijuana was seized in 2016, and a total of 2,4536,288 cannabis plants were eradicated. Italian Guardia di Finanza surveillance flights identified 2,086 suspected cannabis plantations and also measured a fivefold increase in the overall level of cultivation. Report also mentions that the ASP also seized 57.33 kilograms (kg) of heroin and 7.16 kg of cocaine.
“The ASP, including border police, arrested 1,349 people for offenses linked to drug trafficking during 2016. The Serious Crimes Prosecutors Office (SCPO) investigated 273 criminal proceedings for narcotics trafficking. Of this total, 115 investigations were carried over from previous years while 158 investigations were initiated in 2016. In 2016 the SCPO sent 55 cases to court against 81 defendants. The Serious Crimes Court rendered 65 guilty verdicts, to include verdicts in cases already pending in 2016. Albania continues to receive assistance from the United States and European Union countries to enhance its drug enforcement capacities. The government implemented 31 joint operations with international law enforcement agencies through October, mostly in cooperation with Italian authorities. The United States continues to provide assistance for integrated border management with risk analysis to identify potential traffickers, counternarcotic investigations training, and judicial sector assistance programs. In 2016, the United States provided a two-week training course to members of the Albanian Coast Guard and the Border Police to enhance maritime interdiction capacity. To reduce demand for illegal drugs, the ASP and the Albanian Education Ministry, with U.S. support, continued to co-sponsor a drug-awareness and demand reduction project in 365 public elementary schools in 2016, reaching over 30,000 students,” ends the report.