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Albanian mafia

Albanian mafia
Founded Early 1960s
Territory Balkans Worldwide (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece), Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States,Russia Honduras, Israel, China, Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe
Ethnicity Albanians
Membership Unknown
Criminal activities Arms trafficking, murder, fencing, robbery, human trafficking, blackmailing, loan sharking, drug trafficking, theft, money laundering, assault, pimping, and bribery
Allies Sicilian Mafia, Camorra, Greek mafia, 'Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita, Turkish mafia, and Russian mafia,

The Albanian Mafia or Albanian organized crime (Gambino crime family, the authorities say. Then, through negotiations or in armed showdowns, the Albanians struck out on their own, daring to battle the Lucchese and Gambino families for territory in Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County, prosecutors say."[40]

In 2001, Albanian mobsters stormed a Gambino hangout in Astoria, Queens, sending a brazen message to the family. The club, called Soccer Fever, was now theirs. The seven men who invaded the dimly lit basement club tore the joint apart, shot off handguns and beat the club manager bloody, prosecutors say. It was a bold move, and, prior to August 2001 unthinkable.[41]

Gambino leader Arnold Squitieri had had enough and wanted a talk with these rogue mobsters. The "sit down" took place at a gas station in a rest area near the New Jersey turnpike. Squitieri did not come alone; twenty armed Gambino mobsters accompanied their boss. Alex Rudaj on the other hand had only managed to bring six members of his crew. According to undercover FBI agent Joaquin Garcia, who infiltrated the Gambino crime family during this period, Squitieri told Rudaj that the fun was over and that they should stop expanding their operations. The Albanians and Gambinos then pulled out their weapons. Knowing they were outnumbered, the Albanians threatened to blow up the gas station with all of them in it. This ended the discussion, and both groups pulled back.[42]

By 2006, all the main players involved in this "sit down" were in prison. Rudaj and his Sixth Family had been picked off the street in October 2004 and charged with a variety of racketeering and gambling charges. After a trial, Rudaj and his main lieutenants were all found guilty. In 2006, Rudaj, at that time 38 years old, was sentenced to 27 years in prison. His rival Arnold Squitieri was convicted in an unrelated racketeering case and was sent to prison for seven years.[42]

"What we have here might be considered a sixth crime family", after the five mafia organizations—Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese—said Fred Snelling, head of the FBI's criminal division in New York.[43]


Speaking anonymously for Philadelphia's City Paper, a member of the "Kielbasa Posse", an ethnic Polish mob group, declared in 2002 that Poles are willing to do business with "just about anybody. Dominicans. Blacks. Italians. Asian street gangs. Russians. But they won't go near the Albanian mob. The Albanians are too violent and too unpredictable."[44]

The Polish mob has told its associates that the Albanians are like the early Sicilian mafia—clannish, secretive, hypersensitive to any kind of insult, and too quick to use violence for the sake of vengeance.[44]

Latin America


Reliable information from Honduras indicates formidable Albanian mafia activity. According to WikiLeaks reports, Albanian mafia groups are affiliated with various South American politicians, and have set in motion to move their hidden assets in various banks. The Wikileaks report goes on to state that Albanian mafia groups are preying heavily in Central America, where all roads lead to Colombian cocaine. Albanian mafia groups are laundering money through banks in Honduras and investing a large amount in construction projects to further gain influence in South America.[45]

Prominent Albanian mafiosi

  • Zef Mustafa: associate to the Gambino family based in New York. He pled guilty to money laundering.[46]
  • Xhevdet Lika: Xhevdet Lika was an American-Albanian kingpin who was notorious within the New York criminal underworld. In the Book Contract Killer by Hoffman and Headley, it was noted that even though his is not a name of household familiarity in the American upperworld like "Al Capone" or "John Gotti," Xhevedet "Joe" Lika was known in the international underworld. The book also noted; ""He didn't like Italians and they left him alone because he was so violent. Like Japanese kamikazes, his heavy hitter mobsters would go after John Gotti, Paul Castellano, or even President Reagan, if Lika gave the word. There was no way to stop people like that, and Mafiosi knew it"".[47]
  • Princ Dobroshi, One of the biggest heroin kingpins in Europe.
  • Alfred Shkurti (also known as Aldo Bare): The boss of one of the most notorious criminal syndicates in Albania known as the “Banda e Lushnjës” (the [48] According to Albanian authorities,“Banda e Lushnjës”, under Aldo Bare "Leads one of the most important international drug trafficking rings"'[48]
  • Ismail Lika: According to the FBI, Ismail Lika was an Albanian mobster active in New York City in the 1980s. Dubbed the "King of the New York drug underworld", Ismail Lika issued a contract on Rudy Giuliani's prosecutors in 1985. Caught with at least $125 million in heroin, Lika issued a $400,000 contract on the prosecutor Alan Cohen and the detective Jack Delemore, both placed under protective custody.[49]
  • Lul Berisha: Leader of a notorious clan based in Durrës, Albania. Known as "Banda e Lul Berishes", the clan, by its complex structure is engaged in moving drug and arms trafficking and other criminal activities throughout Europe. According to German and Albanian authorities, the clans international drug and arms trafficking spans to Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, and Germany.[50]
  • Armand Krasniqi: Former Albanian mafia kingpin based in Zagreb, Croatia. According to the Croatian newspaper (Jutarnji List"), Krasniqi led a powerful mafia clan with international operations.[22]
  • Naser Xhelili: Coined by Swedish Authorities as the "Albanian Connection" in Sweden, the Xhelili clan operations include drugs and arms trafficking in and around Sweden.[22]
  • Osmani Brothers: According to the German Federal Intelligence Service ([51]
  • Myfit Dika: Former drug kingpin of the “Balkan Criminal Enterprises,”; an international criminal organization which spanned from Canada, the United States, to Europe.[52]
  • Kapllan Murat: Belgium's most notorious mobster. He was one of the masterminds behind the kidnapping of former Belgian Prime Minister Paul Vanden Boeynants in 1989. Three days later, the criminals published a note in the leading Brussels newspaper Le Soir, demanding 30 million Belgian francs in ransom. Paul Vanden Boeynants was released (physically unharmed) a month later, on 13 February, when an undisclosed ransom was paid to the perpetrators.[53]
  • Gjavit Thaqi: Leader of the "Thaci Organization" which is a New York City-based organized crime syndicate. The Thaci Organization controls drug distribution cells in all five boroughs of New York City and Albany. According to the FBI, the Thaci Organization has international operations in Canada, the United States, and Europe.[54]
  • John Alite a.k.a. "Johnny Alletto" (born September 30, 1962) is a New York City based Albanian mobster. A former member of the Gambino crime family he was a friend and crew leader for John A. Gotti in the 1980s and 1990s. Following extradition from Brazil in 2006, he was convicted in Tampa, FL of several counts of murder conspiracy, racketeering and other charges stemming from allegedly heading a unit of the Gambino organization in Florida and was sentenced in 2011 to 10 years in prison (of which he had already served six). He was a prosecution witness against former associates, including Gotti and Charles Carneglia, in wide-ranging racketeering trials. While a part of the Gambino organization, because his family is Albanian, not Italian, Alite could not become a made member of the organization.
  • Naser Kelmendi: The leader of a Balkan Criminal Empire, as coined by Bosnian authorities. According to a report presented by acetic anhydride, a basic ingredient in heroin production.[56] Naser Kelmendi was apprehended on May 5 of 2013.[57]
  • Elvis Kelmendi, son of Naser Kelmendi has made headlines as a violent drug kingpin and was apprehended in May 2013.[58]
  • Luan Plakici - "Vice King" of the Albanian mafia in the UK who was jailed for 10 years [59] (later increased to 23 years [60]) for trafficking women after promising them good jobs.
  • Erkman Rock, the "Kingpin" of New York & New Jersey's Albanian mafia was featured on Americas Most Wanted and apprehended in May 2012.[61]
  • Baki Sadiki the head of the Albanian mafia in Slovakia[62]
  • Plaurent Dervishaj is a prominent Albanian mafia member that is being pursued by the FBI in The United States. He is presently listed on the FBI "Most Wanted" list which is known to provide financial rewards to individuals who assist in their capture.[63][64]
  • Dukagjin Nikollaj is an Albanian mafia member who is listed on the FBI Most wanted list for various crimes.[65]

In popular culture

In film

  • An Albanian criminal organization in Paris is responsible for the kidnapping of Liam Neeson's character's daughter in the 2009 film Taken.
  • Taken 2: In Istanbul, the retired CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) and his wife are taken hostage by the Albanian mafia.
  • The Expendables 3: The head of the Albanian Mafia is played by Robert Davi, who is aligned with rogue arms dealer played by Mel Gibson.
  • Drive: An American action-drama heist film which centers around a stunt performer in a heist gone wrong who gets entangled with an Albanian mafioso who is owed protection money. "Cook", the Albanian mafioso, is played by the Albanian-American actor James Biberi.
  • Dead Man Down: The film plays best as a revenge story between protagonist Victor (Colin Farrell) and the Albanian mob who murdered his family and left him for dead.
  • Run All Night: Run All Night is a 2015 American action thriller film starring Liam Neeson. When An Albanian mob drug deal goes wrong, Neeson must protect his son who was witness to a murder.
  • In the French movie The Nest the plot centers around an Albanian mob boss in police custody being escorted to the Hague.
  • Albanian mobsters Rexho and Luan feature in the Danish crime film Pusher III.
  • The Hornet (1998 film): A Serbian thriller, main protagonist is an Albanian mafia hitman who takes out his targets before the outbreak of the Kosovo War.[66]
  • Dossier K, a Belgian crime thriller, portrays the Albanian mafia in Belgium.
  • In We Own the Night, a final drug transaction is made with the Albanian mafia.
  • In the movie In With Thieves, a blood diamond deal goes wrong which throws Albanian mafioso into chaos in the criminal underworld.
  • Let's Be Cops: Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations. The trouble starts when the dress up police officers get entangled with an Albanian mob boss.
  • In the British thriller Hyena, Albanian drug dealers and sex traffickers take control over London's underworld.

In television

  • In the Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode "Blasters" (Season 6, Episode 9) two former child stars involved in bootlegging ring are being hunted down by the Albanian mob.
  • The story arc "The Slavers" of the adult-oriented Marvel comic The Punisher: Frank Castle deals with Albanian criminals engaged in human trafficking.
  • In the American TV show No Ordinary Family episode "No-Ordinary Mobster" deals with the main character attempting to stop violent Albanian mobsters.
  • In the American Hit TV drama In Plain Sight the episodes "Aguna Matatala", and "Love in the Time of Colarado" both involve the Albanian Mafia.
  • Investigation Discovery's "Discovery Times" episode[67]
  • In the TV series Almost Human, Season 1 episode "Skin", finds John and Dorian investigating the murder of Sebastian Jones, a high end bot maker at the hands of the Albanian mafia.
  • In the American TV show Elementary episode "The Illustrious Client" the case leads to a sex trafficking ring run by the Albanian mafia.
  • NCIS's season 12 episode "So It Goes" deals with a murder, involving one of Ducky's childhood friends, and a smuggling ring run by the Albanian Mafia.
  • In the British/American TV series Strike Back, heroes fight the Albanian Mafia in Kosovo (Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8).

In literature

  • In the novel Blood Trust by Eric Van Lustbader, protagonists fight against international slave trade, tied to a powerful Albanian crime lord, whose ability and influence in global terrorism grows with each day.
  • Albanian war criminals of the Kosovo Liberation Army appear as minor characters in Dale Brown's novel Warrior Class.
  • BESA novel written by Louis Romano

In games

  • The videogame Cosa Nostra or the Bratva. In Liberty City the Albanian mob holds a stronghold in the Little Bay section of Bohan.

In documentary

See also


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  20. ^ a b c Ralf Mutschke (Assistant Director, Criminal Intelligence Directorate) (13 December 2000), The Threat Posed by the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drugs Trafficking and Terrorism (written testimony to the U.S. Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime), Interpol 
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  36. ^ "Mafia shqiptare ne SHBA Me e pasofistikuara por me e dhunshme se italianet e ruset". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
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  40. ^ FAHIM, KAREEM (January 3, 2006). "Beating Them at Their Own Game". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
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  44. ^ a b Brendan McGarvey (2002-12-12). "Another group of Eastern-European gunsels makes its mark". 
  45. ^ landi thotë:. "Ekskluzive/ Mafia shqiptare do pastrojë dhe investojnë paratë e pista në Honduras – Agjencia Kombëtare e Lajmeve AMA". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  46. ^ Tom Robbins (Feb 15, 2005), "The Mob's Multimillion-Dollar Batter. The feds say this Albanian tough guy swings for John Gotti's old team",  
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  50. ^ "Banda e Durrësit: Vendimi i gjyqit, "burg për jetë" për 4 anëtarë". Forumi Shqiptar. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
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  57. ^ "Reputed Crime 'Kingpin' Arrested In Kosovo". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  58. ^ "Son of Drug Boss Naser Kelmendi Sentenced To Four Years for Attempted Murder - Hetq". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
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External links

  • Albanian mafia in US
  • Albanian mafia in New York
The name Rudaj comes from the head of the organization. According to

One of the most famous Albanian criminal organization was the Lucchese crime family in Astoria, Queens, New York, and supposedly beat up two members of the Lucchese family.

Rudaj Organization (New York)

In early 2012, the White House sanctioned suspected Albanian mafia king pin Naser Kelmendi for drug trafficking. US President acetic anhydride, a raw material used in the production of heroin, to Europe through the Balkans.[39]

The [38]

According to Jerry Capeci, the national foremost expert on the [37]

In 2011, a New York-based Albanian-American mob was successfully convicted by the New York US attorney's office. It was coordinated by the International Narcotics Strike Force (made up of the DEA, NYPD, ICE/HSI, New York State Police, IRS, and U.S. Marshals). The American-Albanian mob was described as having "hundreds of associated members, workers, and customers spanning three continents" and with trafficking drugs from Detroit, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. They were also in close cooperation with other mafia families based in the European Union.

During investigations conducted by Italian and Russian factions, the Albanian mafia continues to be widespread in New York in a relatively high number.[36]

[35] In the United States, Albanian gangs started to be active in the mid-80s, mostly participating in low-level crimes, such as burglaries and robberies. Later, they would become affiliated with

The Albanian mafia in the United States has been thought to greatly increase their dominant power and is one of the most violent criminal organizations in operation—particularly with their strong connections in the European Union.[34]

United States

A Canada has shifted to more multi-ethnic and loosely based structures, the term "mafia" is used only to identify the "big three," which have hierarchical structures that are ethnically, racially, and culturally homogeneous: the Italian, Albanian, and Russian mafias.[33]

The Albanian mafia is firmly established in Eastern Canadian cities, such as Toronto and Montreal. Albanians are involved in various white collar activities, such as real estate and health care fraud. Furthermore, they are engaged in cross-border activity between the United States and Canada, which includes drug smuggling and money laundering.[32]


North America

Albanian mafia in UK is heavily involved in prostitution and together with Turkish mafia control more than 70% of prostitution market in London. In the last few years Albanian mafia was involved more in drug trafficking than in prostitution and they sold more than 500,000 kilos of drugs in London alone.

According to the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), Albanian mafia groups have muscled in on the drug and vice trades within the Scottish underworld. The (SCDEA) notes that Albanian mafia groups have established a foothold in arms and drugs trafficking in Scotland.

Albanian gangsters were also involved in the largest cash robbery in British crime history, the £53 million (about US$92.5 million at the time of the robbery) Securitas heist in 2006.[31]


Albanian mafia gangs are believed to be largely behind sex trafficking, immigrants smuggling, as well as working with Turkish gangs in Southend-on-Sea, who control the heroin trade in the United Kingdom.[28][29]

United Kingdom

Geneva Deputy Public Prosecutors state that the Albanian mafia is one of the most powerful ones among eight identified mafias in the world.[26] The other mafia organizations around the world are the [26]


According to Spanish Authorities, the Albanian mafia is composed of powerful organized factions. In a report by Spanish Authorities, the factions have infiltrated banks and industrial estates. They are very active in Madrid and Costa Del Sol.[25]


"The ethnic Albanian mafia is very powerful and extremely violent," said Kim Kliver, chief investigator for Scandinavia at any given time.[24]


According to the German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), in a leaked report to a Berlin newspaper, states that the 'Ndrangheta "act in close co-operation with Albanian mafia families in moving weapons and narcotics across Europe's porous borders".[23]

In an Albanian television station Top Channel TV, Saviano went on to say that the Albanian and Italian factions are "one of the same", and that they don't consider each other as foreigners.[22]


Roberto Saviano, the Italian writer, an expert on the Napolitan Camorra in particular and the Italian mafia in general, spoke of the Albanian mafia as a "no longer foreign mafia" to Italy and stressed that the Albanians and Italians have a "brotherly" relationship between each other. Saviano notes that the Camorra from Naples cannot understand the Russian mafia clans, which aren't based on family ties, and feels greater affinity with the Albanian crime families.[21]


"The Albanian Mafia seems to have established good working relationships with the Italian Mafia".[20] "On the 27th of July 1999 police in Durres (Albania), with Italian assistance arrested one of the godfathers of the "Sacra Corona Unita", Puglia’s Italian mafia. This Albanian link seems to confirm that the Sacra Corona Unita and the Albanian mafia are "partners" in Puglia/Italy and delegate several criminal activities".[20] Thus, in many areas of Italy, the market for cannabis, prostitution, and smuggling is run mainly by Albanians. Links to Calabria’s mafia, the Ndrangheta, exist in Northern Italy. Several key figures of the Albanian mafia seem to reside frequently in the Calabrian towns of Africo, Platì, and Bovalino (Italy), fiefs of the Ndrangheta. Southern Albanian groups also have good relationships with Sicily’s Cosa Nostra.[20]

Sacra Corona Unita

Albanian clandestine immigrants started arriving at Italian ports in 1991. By 1997, the immigration had come under the control of the Albanian and Italian criminal groups, tightening relationships between them.[19]

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Italy has been clamping down hard on the Sicilian mafia. According to the deputy director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), at the end of the 1990s the mafia sought to survive this crackdown by forming a "symbiotic" relationship with the Albanian crime families known as fares, who provided the struggling Sicilians a hand in a number of services in their operations across Italy. Today, both Sicilian mafia groups and the ‘Ndrangheta are believed to have franchised out prostitution, gambling, and drug dealing in territories along the Adriatic coast to the Albanians. One CSIS report even claimed that this partnership had proved so successful that the Sicilian mafia established a ‘headquarters’ in Vlorë, a coastal town in southern Albania at the close of the 1990s.[18]

Sicilian mafia

The Albanian mafia reportedly uses specific trading routes to transport narcotics and illegal immigrants to Italy. Their southern route is via Montenegro and Albania. Access is then gained to Italy by boat.

Trading route

The geographic vicinity, the accessibility to the E.U. through Italy, and the ties with the Calabrian and Apulia criminality have all contributed to the expansion of the Albanian criminality on the Italian scenario. Further factors relative to the economy have rendered the Albanian criminality even more competitive. In fact, some organizations which reached Italy in the early 1990s, infiltrated the Lombardy narco-traffic network run by the ‘ndrangheta. Albanian mafia leaders have reached stable agreements with the Italian criminal organizations, also with the mafia, so have gained legitimacy in many illegal circuits, diversifying their activities to avoid reasons of conflict with similar host structures. So, Albanian drug trafficking has emerged in Apulia, Sicily, Calabria and Campania.[17]


According to British criminal Colin Blaney in his autobiography 'Undesirables', Albanian criminals in Germany also frequently come to blows with British criminals who operate in the nation. Albanian people traffickers have been involved in confrontations with an English organized crime group known as the Wide Awake Firm, including an incident in which a member of the English group was stabbed through the hand.

BND reports state that Albanian Mafia activities are thoroughly spread throughout Germany. One mafia family in Hamburg, for instance, according to BND reports, has over "300 million euros in real estate portfolios". Further, the clan has considerable ties to police, judges and prosecutors in Hamburg.[3]

"Ethnic Albanians" (as the German police officially calls them), migrated from Albania or the Republic of Macedonia or Kosovo, due to the war in Kosovo.[16] Despite their relatively small number, they have quickly taken over the criminal networks of heroin and prostitution faster than any other ethnic group has ever done.[16] In 1999, there were many fake "Albanian" banks that transferred great amounts of money out of Germany in order to finance the KLA guerrilla in Kosovo.[16] This mafia uses so much violence that the German police has problems finding any witnesses to testify against them; all potential witnesses fear for their safety and for the safety of their families.[16]

Albanian mafia families are active in some of the German urban centres, in particular Hamburg. They play an important role in the drug trade and the red light districts of the country. Although this is well-known to German security authorities, such as the (Bundesnachrichtendienst), they are unwilling to undertake an investigation against the Albanian criminal structures in Germany.


The Albanian mafia in France is described as having a monopoly over many criminal transactions including arms and drug trafficking. The Albanian mafia has a strong foothold in France, which is a key strategy as other primary transactions are overseen in neighbouring countries by different mafia families and clans.[14] French media has stated that " In many cities of France, there is a network of the Albanian mafia , who are involved in narcotics trafficking , and prostitution. It is a highly organized network and is very difficult to find their roots and penetrate it.[15]


In 1989, Belgian Prime Minister [13]



One dire internal police assessment relayed to the Federal Government claims their criminality now extended worldwide with direct Australian-Albanian Organized Crime links to notorious Mexican and Colombian clans and cartels and Asian triads including the 14K group, South African crime lords and Italian and Dutch criminal groups targeting predominantly Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and South Australia using motorcycle gangs as part of the national distribution network.

It has been confirmed the prosecutions office in Montenegro, where Ulic is residing, has an extensive file on Ulic and other figures in the country as part of an international arrest warrant to break the cartel up.[11]

Vaso Ulic is a 55-year-old ethnic Albanian who migrated to Australia in 1979 and within a few years was working as a small-time foot soldier running drugs and cash along the infamous Golden Mile of Kings Cross but who is now seen as a kingpin of an organisation so big, very few drug consignments enter Australia without his knowledge or permission.

The mostly Australian run group, led by former Kings Cross identity Vaso Ulic, An Albanian immigrant who left Australia in 2005 never to return, was now networked to become one of the biggest transnational crime groups in the world importing six tonnes a year into Australia alone but many more to and from other destinations from South Africa to Europe, China, Nigeria and the Americas with law enforcers from notably the United Kingdom, United States and Italy involved in their pursuance.

“European Organized Crime, Primarily the Albanian Mafia is now the biggest threat to Australia, so entrenched and disciplined and influential in local communities it has made it a serious challenge to crack,”

A lengthy News Corp Australia investigation has found that an Albanian Mafia group — led by some of Australia’s most wanted men — have established “entrenched infiltration” of almost every level of Australian society and according to Australian Federal Police.


The Israeli government has confirmed its concern that the Albanian mafia has spread its tentacles in the country's banking system. The Israeli intelligence agency has called for a close cooperation between Israel and Albania to combat money laundering. Justice Ministry General Manager, Dr. Rotkopf Guy noted; "this is an important step in international cooperation between our countries to combat money laundering with the force of law and to deepen relations between Israel and other countries."[10]


The Albanian mafia has extended its activities to China. This after Chinese authorities have uncovered Albanian mafia activity including drug trafficking and prostitution networks. Reports state that the mafia is involved in drug transporting to various Chinese cities. Further, after smuggling the drugs, they are involved in human smuggling of Chinese nationals to Europe.[9]


International activity

The Albanian mafia uses a term "Besa", meaning trust, as a name for their "code of honor".[8] During the recruitment process a member inducted into the Albanian mafia is required to take an oath. The oath is then considered sacred because it is defined as a Besë. Besa is extremely important in Albanian culture, and is considered a verbal contract of trust. Especially in North Albania, when somebody gives you his Besë, he has given you his life and is going to protect you with his life.


Rituals and codes of conduct

The Albanian mafia has clans throughout the world. In Albania, there are clans that operate in certain towns or cities. Each region is controlled by different mafia families that oversee international operations. In Shkodra, the Xhakja clan is powerful and has an extensive history of criminal family members.[5] Other prominent Albanian mafia families operating in and around Albania include; The Kelmendi or "Kelmendi" crime family, run by Naser Kelmendi, and the Osmani family,[6] and the "Banda e Lushnjës" whose boss "Aldo Bare" has since been arrested and prosecuted. The Allushi clan is located in the area of Kurcaj, Albania.[7]

Clans by region in Albania

According to Ioannis Michaletos, the family structure is characterized by a strong inner discipline, which is achieved by means of punitive action for every deviation from internal rules. Punishment ensures fear, and fear guarantees unconditional loyalty to the family. Provisions within the family structure allow official laws to be considered secondary, unimportant, and non-binding. Since mafia families are based on blood relations, the number of clan members are limited, and bonds between them tend to be very strong. As a result, infiltrating into the mafia is almost impossible. Members of other ethnic groups can be accepted only to execute one time or secondary jobs. The Albanian mafia families are organized in 4–6 or more levels; such a structure enables them to preserve the organizational action capability even in case some of its members or groups are captured.[4]

Deeply reliant on loyalty, honor, and family—with blood relations and marriage being very important—most of the Albanian networks appear to be "old-fashioned". Albanian mafia families or clans are usually made up of groups that have thousands members all over the world, constituting an extended family, residing all along the Balkan route from Eastern Turkey, to Western Europe, and North America.


The typical structure of the Albanian mafia is hierarchical. A family clan is referred to as a "fis" or a "fare."[2] Families contain an executive committee known as a "Bajrak" and select a high-ranking member for each unit. A unit is led by a "Krye" or "Boss" who selects "Kryetar" or "Underbosses" to serve under them. The Kryetar will then choose a "Mik" or "Friend" who acts as a liaison to members and is responsible for coordinating unit activities.[3] In Albania, there is also a group called "Black Eagle" that consists of Alji Haskaj and Arton Toljaj. Aside from "Black Eagle" the activities are also referred to as "Ideali, Skifteri, BIA, Kashtjela, Large Eagles, Black Hand, Eagle's Eye, Black Tigers, Zjarri, Akatana, Siguria Vendit and others.

Clan hierarchy

Structure and composition


  • Structure and composition 1
    • Clan hierarchy 1.1
    • Membership 1.2
    • Clans by region in Albania 1.3
  • Rituals and codes of conduct 2
    • Besa 2.1
  • International activity 3
    • China 3.1
    • Israel 3.2
    • Australia 3.3
    • Europe 3.4
      • Belgium 3.4.1
      • France 3.4.2
      • Germany 3.4.3
      • Italy 3.4.4
        • Trading route
        • Sicilian mafia
        • Sacra Corona Unita
        • Camorra
        • Ndrangheta
      • Scandinavia 3.4.5
      • Spain 3.4.6
      • Switzerland 3.4.7
      • United Kingdom 3.4.8
    • North America 3.5
      • Canada 3.5.1
      • United States 3.5.2
        • Rudaj Organization (New York)
        • Potential
    • Latin America 3.6
      • Honduras 3.6.1
  • Prominent Albanian mafiosi 4
  • In popular culture 5
    • In film 5.1
    • In television 5.2
    • In literature 5.3
    • In games 5.4
    • In documentary 5.5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

The Albanian Mafia, in its entirety, constitutes one of the highest crime generating elements in the world, combining the “traditional” characteristics – plainly manifest in the rigid internal discipline, in the clan structure, in the “endogamic closure” which increases the impermeability, the reliability and the endogenous solidity – with modern and innovative elements, such as trans-nationality, commercial imprinting and the criminogenous culture of service. The massive logistics to almost anywhere and the syncretic nature of Albanian crime has facilitated its establishment outside of the mother country and its integration with the local criminality, exploiting the opportunities inherent in the entire compatriot network.


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