Arrest of Albanian Official Accused of Drug Smuggling Causes Stir

The arrest of a senior Albanian government official suspected of using her position to smuggle drugs across the border continues to raise eyebrows.

Elisa FerroHe serves as the IT director for the country’s top intelligence agency.

“Albanian police said Fero was using an official government ID as a civil servant to evade police checkpoints and investigations. A 30-year-old and a 17-year-old were also detained on drug trafficking charges. Police said two suspects, believed to have received drugs on the North Macedonian side of the border, were found after a lengthy search. fled. Reported by VICEalso citing local media, said: “Police suspect that those arrested in the case, including Ferro, are linked to organized crime gangs.”

This isn’t the first time Fero, 28, has been embroiled in scandal.

by Greek City Times, Ferro was “reported to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), along with 21 other members, for misconduct” in December 2021 when he was “a member of the constituency’s vote-counting committee.”

“However, the voting results were tampered with by the committee she participated in, and the competent committee lodged a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Tirana against 21 members, including Ferro,” the outlet said. report“This young woman has been accused of participating in the manipulation of the April 25, 2021 election and removing or adding votes in favor of candidates of different political parties.”

Albania has banned both recreational and medical cannabis.

According to law firm CMS, in 2000, “Albania has joined the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty that prohibits the use, manufacture and trade of listed narcotics, except in medicine and research.” Cannabis The medical use of is not compulsory by Albania. ”

“In 1994, the Albanian government enacted the Narcotics and Psychotropics Act, which included cannabis on the list of controlled substances. , manufacture and trade were banned.While cannabis is not specifically listed, the government has clarified that it is included in the definition of narcotics.” CMS explains“According to Article 283 of the Penal Code, the sale, offer for sale, all forms of giving and receiving, distribution, transaction, transportation, sending, delivery and storage of narcotics and psychotropics and seeds of narcotic plants are prohibited by law (personal except for use and small amounts), sentenced to five to ten years’ imprisonment.”

The arrests of government officials, as well as those suspected of involvement in organized crime, come at a politically ominous time for Albania.

As VICE noted in its report, Fero’s arrest “takes place at a time when NATO member Albania is pushing for deeper ties with the EU, including possible future membership.”

“Albania and other countries, including Bulgaria and Romania, have made great strides in fighting local organized crime and corruption in cooperation with the EU and NATO,” said a senior EU security official. . “But this case shows the difficulty of fighting corruption in a sponsored environment like Albania.”

Vise “With access to internal IT and information systems, Fero’s ties to the alleged crimes could lead to a high risk of information being passed on to criminal gangs or hostile intelligence services,” officials said. reported.

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