US Department of State: Albania Source Country for Marijuana
Albanian Daily News
Published March 17, 2017

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.

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