Fighting the Cannabis Mafia
In recent years Albania has become one of the world's largest producers of cannabis. Growing and smuggling cannabis is an industry worth billions for the Albanian mafia. This documentary reveals the dangerous war being waged by the authorities against the drug cartels in this small Balkan state on the Adriatic Sea.
Albania, a country located in the southeast Balkans with a population of under three million, is one of the world's main producers of cannabis. The climate, with up to 300 days of sunshine per year, is ideal for the cannabis plant, which originated in central Asia. Political corruption, a weak judiciary and widespread poverty, however, have served to boost the illegal cultivation of and trade in the drug. The changes that took place in the early 1990s, when Albania transformed from a totalitarian regime into a democracy, were marked by violent upheavals and lawlessness. Mafia clans with connections to the highest political circles made massive profits from people trafficking and the smuggling of cigarettes, weapons and heroin. This was also when the large-scale cultivation of cannabis began. The remote, rugged mountain valleys are difficult for the police to patrol. Although the Albanian government has declared war on the cannabis mafia after being pressured by the European Union, how can it be that many tons of cannabis still cross the Adriatic and get into Italy and from there into other EU countries?