Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Feds, NYPD bust 37 in NY based Albanian mob drug ring after botched hit caught on video

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the NYPD swooped in this morning with simultaneous large-scale raids throughout the city -- and reaching into the suburbs, upstate and overseas -- smashing a drug trafficking ring run here by the Albanian mafia.
The massive fed-coordinated raid locally nabbed at least 27 of 37 alleged members and associates of an Albanian mob made up of several family clans and involving "hundreds of associates and customers spanning three continents," officials said.
Among other illicit activities, Brooklyn federal prosecutors say the organization ran an international drug trafficking ring that smuggled large quantities of hydroponically-grown marijuana from Canada into the Big Apple.
Drug Enforcement Administration special agents
Ecstasy was brought in from the Netherlands and Canada, while cocaine was transported from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, officials said. The organization also trafficked in substantial quantities of highly-addictive prescription pills, such as the pain killer Oxycontin, the feds say.
But the organization also specialized in sending drugs abroad, procuring large quantities of cocaine in the US and shipping it across the Atlantic and Mediterranean to Albania and elsewhere in Europe, officials said. The coke was secreted in hidden compartments inside luxury automobiles that were shipped from supposedly "legitimate" car dealerships that the feds say were run by the mobsters.
Arrests were made in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Long Island, as well as in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange and Albany counties.
Other alleged mobsters were busted in New Jersey, Florida and Colorado - as well as in in Albania, officials said.
Federal agents seized 18 firearms and ammunition during the early morning raids, officials said.
An earlier case linked to today's action was the arrest last month of a reputed Albanian mobster who blew a planned hit on another mob associate because he let his temper get the best of him.
Bajram Lajqi -- who also went by the street name "Van Damme" after the Brussels-born action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme -- and a henchman tracked down the man after a falling out over the drug-smuggling scheme from Canada, according to a report filed by Brooklyn federal prosecutor Steven Tiscione.
Shortly before midnight on June 3, Lajqi and his cohort, Carlos Alvarez, went to the Tosca Cafe on East Tremont Avenue in The Bronx, according to an official report.
Before entering the restaurant, investigators believe the pair first located their intended victim's car, which was parked outside, and punctured all its tires.
NYPD detectives and DEA agents investigating the incident later came to believe this was a tactic aimed at making it hard for the victim to flee.
But watching their intended victim inside the restaurant for two hours was apparently too much for Lajqi to bear, he lost his cool, walked right over to the man, and punched him in the face, the report says.
Then Lajqi whipped out a pistol and turned it on a bouncer who intervened -- but that gave the marked-for-death man a chance to run out the door, the report says.
The mobsters ran after him, and when Lajqi caught up, he allegedly fired several shots at the man outside the eatery.
Bullets hit the man in his left and right thighs, the report says, but he somehow was able to run away and later was treated for the gunshot wounds at a hospital.
Much of the incident - both inside the restaurant and out on the street - was caught on surveillance tape by 10 security camera, authorities said.
With the help of witnesses, federal investigators discovered that Lajqi and the victim had allegedly been partners in a pot-trafficking organization, the report says.
Shortly after the botched hit, Lajqi was busted by the DEA on drug-trafficking charges and firing a gun in connection with narcotics smuggling.


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