For the first time, an official from the Rama government has publicly accepted that the State Police has been involved in the drug trade throughout the country. Invited by journalist Sokol Balla in Top Story, Minister of Interior Affairs Fatmir Xhafaj admitted the involvement of the police in the illegal activities.
Xhafaj’s declarations does openly contradict former Minister Saimir Tahiri and Prime Minister Edi Rama’s claims that claims about the police’s involvement were merely slander produced by the opposition.
Sections or specific individuals of the State Police have been related to the cultivation and trafficking of hashish, or have been paid for their silence, or have collaborated. I think that some of the local police directors at least remained silent about this.
Minister Xhafaj stated that it is “impossible that the local police, the forest police, or the local village elder doesn’t know where cannabis is cultivated,” and that “part of the changes [in the State Police] are related with the necessity to fight against cannabis.”
As regards the large opposition protest that has been announced for May 13, Xhafaj stated:
We have heard the declaration of Basha that the protest will be peaceful. I hope that it will be such. If there will be acts of violence, the police will respond harshly. The police will intervene strongly if the protest that has been called as peaceful will be used to destabilize the country.
Minister Xhafaj also assured that the police “has all the necessary capacity and all the responsibilities to guarantee a free and fair electoral process in Albania.