Police detains three Albanian weapons bootleggers

Albanian police said Monday they had arrested three men suspected of making and selling bombs in a raid that targeted an important group of weapons traffickers.

The men were arrested over the weekend in the town of Shkodra, 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of the capital, Tirana, on suspicion of trafficking arms and explosives, according to a statement.

Police said one of the men, Skender Deda, a former army officer, assembled explosives designed to be detonated by cell phone. Police identified the other two suspects as Ilir Mehmetaj and Gurali Dikellari.

Post-communist Albania has been working to tighten border controls and curb the trafficking of humans, drugs and weapons as part of its drive for eventual NATO and European Union membership.

Traffickers have taken advantage of lax border controls, corrupt police and weak judiciaries in Albania, Kosovo and other places in the region.

Albanian military bases and arms depots were looted in 1997, when anarchy swept the country during armed anti-government protests following the collapse of popular investment schemes, reports the AP.


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