The European project EU4FOCAL is conducting a joint operation with the Albanian police in search of criminal activity at its borders
In recent years Albania has intensified its efforts to target criminal activities in order to combat corruption and organised crime. This work is part of the Balkan country’s EU accession process.
The EU’s EU4FOCAL project to fight organised crime in Albania through criminal and financial investigations aims to improve the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking in the country through proactive investigative methods and intelligence.
The project works with the Albanian Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Albanian Police and is supported by both Spanish institutions in the fight against organised crime and related offences. In addition to training, the project carries out real operations that allow them to see how border controls are carried out and to learn first-hand how to recognise potential criminals.
The aim of this joint operation was to carry out targeted checks on vehicles and persons entering Albania from the neighbouring region of Kosovo* at the Morinë border crossing point. The operation was coordinated by the key project expert of the Spanish National Police and also involved the participation of the Albanian State Police and Customs Anti-Trafficking Unit, the Albanian National Police and Customs of Kosovo*, as well as the FRONTEX Permanent Border Corps.
The selection of potential criminals was based on intelligence criteria, thanks to a risk and profile analysis previously carried out jointly by the Albanian and Montenegrin national police and customs authorities.
Thanks to this operation, it was possible to identify an individual driving a high-end vehicle who was trying to enter the country in possession of undeclared cash hidden among his belongings. In accordance with Albanian legislation, the money was seized and proceedings have been opened by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In addition, another individual was arrested, also driving a high-end vehicle in which cocaine was being transported in a hidden compartment and was detected by the team of dog handlers, who have also received training in the framework of the project to enable the dogs to identify both drugs and money.
This is the fifth and not the last phase of successful joint operations under the EU4FOCAL project, as future operations are planned at other Albanian border crossing points with neighbouring countries.