The Fund for Investigative Journalism

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  • The Roots of Albanian – American Organized Crime

    Kevin Heldman reports in Capital New York about the origins of a murderous Albanian crime syndicate: Tirana, Albania. He traveled there to meet their crew members, and has filed the first part in a series. He tracked down one of the crime syndicate’s former enforcers to a town two hours from Tirana: “He worked primarily as muscle and as a driver for some big-time pot dealers. One of them was like a father to him, he said.  He said he had been moving 600 pounds a week.  He said he’s not scared of the police, but he’s scared of beef with other gangsters.  I told him I’d be careful not to identify him. He said he got paid $15,000 to drive 30 minutes a week, and asked me if I could even imagine how much they must have been moving.  The crew bought weed from Vancouver into the U.S. He himself said he had about 20 kids working for him. He said kind of apologetically that if he worked in construction he would make only $400 or $500 a   week. …

    “He talked about some ultraviolent guys he was with on muscle jobs who pounded away on people longer and harder than they needed to, who threatened to rape a man they were beating, who actually had to be talked down and told to chill. He said he himself used to hurt people with baseball bats, and that it’s easier than you think to kill a man.”

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