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Chief perpetrators of drug and people smuggling, human body part and weapons sales, sex slavery, passport theft, forgery, abductions and murder, the Albanian Mafia remains to be domineering in their criminal activity both domestically and abroad.
“The Albanian criminal enterprises, operating largely in New York and other Eastern seaboard cities, represent a major challenge to federal agents because of their propensity for violence and brutality,” FBI officials indicate.
"They are a hardened group, operating with reckless abandon," said Chris Swecker, the FBI assistant director for the Criminal Investigative Division according to a CNN report.
Interpol stated that “Kosovo Albanian Mafia hold the largest share of the heroin market in Switzerland, in Austria, in Belgium, in Germany, in Hungary, in the Czech Republic, in Norway, and in Sweden.”
The head of Sweden’s anti drug unit believes that the gangs supplied “hundreds, maybe thousands, of kilos of heroin” to the Scandinavian countries. The Albanian Muslim Mafia clans are dispersed in Kosovo and Macedonia as well as Albania proper.
The Italian Mafia and the Albanian Mafia
"I hate these f**** Albanians," a captain in the Genovese crime family was captured saying on tape. The captain continued,
"If you have a beef with them you have to kill them right away. There's no talking to them."
Reports indicate that the Albanian Mafia including immigrants from Kosovo has replaced the Italian La Cosa Nostra Mafia, an offshoot of the Sicilian Mafia.
To understand the capacity and how far the arms reach of the Albanian Mafia is to understand briefly the magnitude of La Cosa Nostra aka The Italian-American Mafia:
There are five main New York City Mafia families, known as the Five Families: the Gambino, Lucchese, Genovese, Bonanno and Colombo families.
The Italian-American Mafia aka La Cosa Nostra dominated organized crime in the U.S. It used this status to maintain control over much of the organized crime activity in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Providence, New Jersey, and New York City, as well as in other cities in the Northeastern United States and across the country, such as Las Vegas, Tampa, New Orleans, Miami, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and many others.
La Cosa Nostra often referred to as the “original Mafia,” was at one time thought to be one of the largest organized crime groups in the United States and held dominance of the National Crime Syndicate.
The Albanian Mafia has been thought to greatly exceed this dominant power and poses as an outstanding figure as one of the most violent crime organizations in operation particularly with their strong connections in Europe union.
Replacing La Cosa Nostra in its rank, size, power and figure in organized crime, the Albanian Mafia holds itself as a domineering force in the Mafia underworld.
Further, a predominant Catholic Mafia is being replaced by a predominant Muslim Albanian FIS.
The Gambino crime family recruits ethnic Albanian assassins
In the 1970s, the Italian Mafia, more specifically the Gambino family recruited and employed Albanians as couriers, transporters, and more significantly assasins as a result of their proficiency.
By 1996, ethnic Albanians were the main assassins for the Gambino family.
At least two of the Gambino Family’s major players or “high level associates,” including Zef Mustafa were of Albanian enthnicity. Mustafa allegedly made over $700 million for the Gambino family, was later arrested for a $19 million dollar internet heist, and subsequently released on a $5 milliion bond disappearing from the United States.
“The ethnic Albanian mafia is very powerful and extremely violent,” said Kim Kliver, chief investigator for organized crime with the Danish National Police.
“If you compare them to the Italian Mafia, the Albanians are stronger and not afraid of killing.”
"The Albanian criminals were special from the beginning," said Francesca Marcelli, an organized-crime investigator for the Italian government.
"When they started appearing here in 1993, they were much different than other immigrants. They have strong motivations and are very violent. Some of them actually pulled machine guns on the son of an Italian Mafioso. To do that in Italy is unbelievable."
In the north of Italy, the Albanians have taken the prostitution racket away from the country's toughest Mafia branch, the 'Ndrangheta.
A representative from the Polish Mob in 2002 was found saying:
“I’m willing to do business with just about anyone. Dominicans, Blacks. Italians. Asian gangs. Russians. But won’t go near the Albanian mob. The Albanians are too violent and too unpredictable.”
Ties to Kosovo Liberation Army and Al Qaeda
Alleged ties to Al-Qaeda, the Albanian Mafia, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the United States and Europe stretches throughout the United States, Canada, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia.
The FBI believes largely that the Albanian Mafia could be involved in “terrorist financing,” adding more specifically, “ties to organizations suspected of involvement in terrorist financing.”
Even more so, support of Al Qaeda prove notable in the following:
Yossef Bodansky, former Director of House Task Force on Terrorism, committed to saying,
“The Albanian mob will not commit acts of terrorism…but will aid Al Qaeda..The role of the Albanian Mafia-tightly connected to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA a declared terrorist organization) is laundering money, providing technology, safe houses and other support to terrorists within this country.”
Most if not all of the KLA has been trained and financially supported by Al Qaeda.
(Kosovo was marked as a potential recruiting ground for Islamic extremists. The large numbers of young Muslims living in abject poverty in Kosovo plays ideally into the hands of terrorist recruiters. Al-Qaeda is extremely interested in the region because the Muslim families are large and teenagers make up half of Kosovo’s population, making Kosovo a prime reservoir for the recruitment of young Mujahedeen.)
- 24 Wahhabi mosques , 14 orphanages and 98 primary and secondary Wahhabi funded schools have been built in Kosovo since 1999. Wahhabism Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad is thought to be the chief spiritual source of the Al Qaeda terrorists.
(Chairman Kyl, Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on Thursday, June 26, 2003 stated: “I come before this body to describe how adherents of Wahhabism, the most extreme, separatist, and violent form of Islam, and the official sect in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have come to dominate Islam in the U.S. “)
- Djamel Beghala, Al Qaeda operative, arrested in Dubai was found with a manufactured Albanian false passport. Under interrogation, Beghala identified a major European Al Qaeda cell planning to blow up the US Embassy in Paris.
- Al Qaeda assassins of Ahmed Shah Massoud possessed passports doctored by the Albanian Mafia. The assassination of Massoud is considered to have a strong connection to the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil. Massoud had warned against a potential terrorist attack in his speech to the European Parliament several months earlier.
Krasniqi Albanian crime family, the KLA and Al Qaeda
The US District Court in New Jersey charged 6 (six) on terrorism related charges directly related to a pattern of Islamist terrorist support operations by Bosnian and Albanian radicals in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The men were charged with conspiring to conduct the attack were within area where Bosnian Islamists worked with “Islamic charities” to develop terrorist training operation before and after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Of the 6 (six) men, 4 were ethnic Albanians, 3 of the 6 are members of the Duka family. The Duka family operate a roofing business in Brooklyn, New York, demographically close to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the home of Florin Krasniqi.
Krasniqi in 1998-99, raised $30 million from the Albanian community in the United States for the KLA and smuggled hundreds of high-powered American sniper rifles to Kosovo for guerrillas, which were distributed by his extended family clan in the region.
Krasniqi, an Albanian born from the southern most part of Kosovo, was a major supplier of weapons from the US to the KLA, through Niam Behzloulzi aka Houlzi.
Houlzi a major KLA figure linked to Al Qaeda, was the 2nd ranking leader in the KLA providing explosives for terrorist attacks on Madrid in March of 2004 and in London in July of 2005.
Arrests of the Krasniqi crime family 2010
In June 2010 the FBI and NYPD arrested heads of the Krasniqi operating primarily out of New York, Connecticut, Michigan and elsewhere on charges from murder to kidnapping to drugs to racketeering:
- Bruno Krasniqi
- Saimir Krasniqi
- Erkliant Sula
- Skender Cakoni
- Gjovalin Berisha
- Nazih Nasser
- Gentian Nikolli
- Shkelzen Balidemaj
- Plaurent Cela
- Albert Tamali
Gentian Caro, Marjan Tamali, and JoAnna Pakulski were arrested by the Royal Canadian Police. Caro was extradited to the United States; Tamali and Pakulski are awaiting extradition.
Dukagin Nikollaj and Vsi Lnu are still at large according to the FBI.
- July 2, 2010, Sr. Aide to Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, 27-year-old Almir Rrapo was arrested on charges of murder and racketeering. Rrapo was a senior member of Krasniqi.
- August 24, 2010, Krasniqi member, Florian Veshi, 26 years old, was also arrested.