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Albanian mafia

Albanian mafia

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The Albanian Mafia or Albanian organized crime are the general terms used for criminal organizations based in Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 or composed of ethnic Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

. Albanian organized crime is active in Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) countries, participating in a diverse range of criminal enterprises including drug
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

 and arms trafficking. In Albania alone there are over 15 mafia families or clans that control organized crime.


The typical structure of the Albanian Mafia is hierarchical. Concerning "loyalty", "honor" and family (blood relations and marriage being very important) most of the Albanian networks seem to be "old-fashioned". Infiltration into these groups is thus very difficult. Albanian Mafia families or clans are usually made up of groups of fewer than 100 members, constituting an extended family residing all along the Balkan route from eastern Turkey, to Western Europe, and North America. The Northern Albanian Mafia which runs the drug wholesale business is also known by the name of "The Fifteen Families."

According to Ioannis Michaletos, the family structure is characterized by a strong inner discipline, which is achieved by a means of punishment for every deviation from the internal rules, so that the fear should guarantee an unconditional loyalty to the family, with the provisions of the official laws considered to be secondary, not important and non-binding. Due to the fact that the Mafia families are based on the blood ties, which is a factor that restricts the number of the clan members, the bonds between them are very strong, which makes getting close to and infiltrating into them almost impossible. Members of other ethnic groups can be accepted only to execute certain one time or secondary jobs. Moreover, the Albanian mafia families are organized in 3-4 or more levels, which enable them to preserve the organizational action capability even in case some of its members or groups are captured

Rudaj Organization

The most famous Albanian criminal organization was the Rudaj Organization
Rudaj Organization
The Rudaj Organization was the name given the Albanian mafia in the New York City metro area, so named for the man accused of being its kingpin, Alex Rudaj of Yorktown, New York. The Rudaj Organization, called "The Corporation" by its members, was started in 1993 in Westchester and spread to the...

. In October 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) arrested 22 men who worked for it. This included its leader Alex Rudaj, and effectively ended the criminal organization. They had entered in the territory of Lucchese crime family
Lucchese crime family
The Lucchese crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano "Tommy" Reina serving as boss up until his murder...

 in Astoria, Queens
Astoria, Queens
Astoria is a neighborhood in the northwestern corner of the borough of Queens in New York City. Located in Community Board 1, Astoria is bounded by the East River and is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City, Sunnyside , and Woodside...

, New York, and are said to have even beaten up two made men in the Lucchese family. The name Rudaj comes from the boss of the organization. According to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

published on January 2006, "Beginning in the 1990s, the Corporation, led by a man named Alex Rudaj, established ties with established organized crime figures including members of the Gambino crime family
Gambino crime family
The Gambino crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The group is named after Carlo Gambino, boss of the family at the time of the McClellan hearings in 1963...

, 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.".

In 2001 Albanian mobsters stormed a Gambino hangout in Astoria, Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, sending a brazen message to the Mafia.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 bold - and, prior to August 2001 unthinkable.

Gambino leader Arnold Squitieri
Arnold Squitieri
Arnold "Squiggy" Ezekiel Squitieri of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey is a convicted drug dealer and former acting boss and current Underboss of the Gambino crime family. He is also known as "Zeke", "Bozey", and "Squitty".-Murder charge:...

 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
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 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.

By 2006 all of 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.

"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.

According to FBI, they do not yet demonstrate the established criminal sophistication of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) organizations.

Earliest American Mafia Families of Albanian Origin

  • Joseph Ardizzone
    Joseph Ardizzone
    Joseph "Iron Man" Ardizzone was an early Los Angeles mobster, who became the first Boss of the Los Angeles crime family. He was involved in a long-standing feud with the Matranga family, and became the only Los Angeles boss to be murdered by his own men...

Joseph Ardizzone (November 19, 1884-October 15, 1931) was an early Los Angeles Mafia boss or what later became known as the Los Angeles crime family. He was involved in a long-standing feud with the Matranga crime family, and became the first Los Angeles boss to be murdered by his own men.

The Matranga family is one of the oldest Albanian families that since the early middle ages emerged as one the most powerful families of Albania. The family originated from the area of Karavasta in western Albania and their original surname in Albanian is Matrënga, while it is related with the Muzaka family (known as Musacchi-a in Italy).

Born Giuseppe Ernesto Ardizzone in Piana dei Greci (changed to Piana degli Albanesi in 1941)(Plain of the Albanians) in the province of Palermo, Sicily to Antonino Ardizzone on November 19, 1884, he was descended from Albanians who fought Muslims during the 16th century invasions in eastern Europe. The Albanians were given land grants in what later became Italy, and with Piana di Greci being one of the larger Albanian communities. The Ardizzones were related to several other families and they would maintain contact in America. Those families included the Cuccias and the Matrangas.
The Ardizzone family came to America at different times. Antonino came in the later 19th century, landing in Louisiana then taking the train to southern California. He became a wealthy farmer and wine maker. His other children, including Stefano and Francesco also moved to the Los Angeles area. Giuseppe was one of the last to arrive. For reasons uncertain Giuseppe, who Americanized his name to Joseph, became involved in a dispute with the Matrangas who lived in Los Angeles. They were distant cousins from Piana dei Greci. In what he later called an act of self-defense, Joseph shot and killed a Matranga ally named George Maisano in 1906. He then fled California and hid in different states. He eventually returned and was arrested, but the charges against him were dropped. He then married a young girl named Elsa who was the daughter of a German neighbor in the city of Sunland, where they lived at that time. Shorty after that their home was burned down by arsonists.
While it is uncertain when Ardizzone became a member of the Mafia, or even if his immediate family were members, he was in a leadership position in the early 1920s. Upon the resignation of Rosario DeSimone for unknown reasons, he became the next chief of the Los Angeles crime family. During his time as boss Prohibition was active and many, if not most, Mafiosi were involved in bootlegging. The Los Angeles Family was certain active during this time period. In 1931, when the Castellammarese War between Joseph Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano was taking place, the Los Angeles crime family may have supported Maranzano. Nick Gentile notes in his memoirs that during a conference Maranzano was backed by two men from California. Joseph Bonanno and his son Salvatore Bonanno wrote of several close associates in the Los Angeles area, such as Jimmy Costa (from Castellammare del Golfo, Nick Guastella, Frank Bompensiero and Tony Mirabile. It was also during this time that a faction developed that opposed Ardizzone. In early 1931 he was driving with his friend Jimmy Basile when gunmen drove by and shot at them. Basile was killed and Ardizzone wounded. Ardizzone managed to be taken to the house of Leon Desimone, the physician son of former boss Rosario Desimone. He was treated and sent to a hospital. A second attempt was made on his life in the hospital, so his family came to act as bodyguards. Underworld sources indicated that he agreed to retire after these incidents. The opposing faction apparently did not believe Ardizzone, and on October 15, 1931, while on his way to a cousin's house in Etiwanda while driving a 1930 Ford Coupe SRW7653 and was carrying a .41 caliber Colt revolver No.323., he "disappeared". An intense search followed, but he was never found. After seven years his wife had him declared dead. Alleged to have been involved in the "disappearances" of at least three men...before being "disappeared" himself
  • Johnny Dio

Johnny Dio (born John Dioguardi) (April 28, 1914 – January 12, 1979) was a mafioso and union boss in the Lucchese Crime Family
Lucchese crime family
The Lucchese crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano "Tommy" Reina serving as boss up until his murder...


Giovanni (John) Ignazio Dioguardi was born on April 28 in 1913 or 1914 (birth dates conflict depending on the source) in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, the same neighborhood that produced future Lucchese crime family mob boss Anthony Corallo. He was of Arbëreshë-descent on his mother's side, from the ethnic Albanian community living in southern Sicily. Unlike Henry Hill who was of Irish-Sicilian descent(in the movie - in real life Henry Hill is half Jewish half Sicilian - an Irishman would never turn rat even a half Irishman), Giovanni's ethnic background did not affect his position in the Lucchese crime family, and he was successfully promoted to the prestigious rank of capo and assigned his own criminal crew. He ran the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union and Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees and Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America His father and mother were from Palermo, Sicily. He had three brothers, Tommaso Dio (October 29, 1915 - January 1985) and two lesser known brothers named Frank Dio (March 12, 1900 - December 15, 1988), Vincent Dio (August 15, 1917 - September 28, 1992) and at least one biological sister who can be identified only as "Mrs. Dioguardi-Priziola". Tommaso would later become a capo in the Lucchese crime family until he was arrested for armed robbery and sent to jail for twenty-five years. He is of no relation to Joseph J. DioGuardi or Ronnie James Dio, although they do share the same last name. Joseph DioGuardi does share the same family ancestry as the notorious Johnny Dio. In his younger years Giovanni looked like a cross between actors Keifer Sutherland and Rudolph Valentino. He was enrolled in Stuyvesant High School for a year and a half, but dropped out in his sophomore year. Johnny Dio and his siblings were brought up on Forsyth Street in Little Italy. By the age of fifteen, he was already being groomed and refined to become a consummate mobster. Johnny Dio is known to have had at least twos sons, Phillip Dioguardi a.k.a. "No-Name Phil", who was an associate of the Colombo crime family, Lucchese crime family mob associate Dominick Dioguardi and Hollywood actor and writer Richard Dioguardi who would later portray City Detective #2 in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas. His son Phillip was involved in extortion, loan-sharking, fraud, gambling and union racketeering with Anthony Colombo, a son of Colombo crime family mob family patriarch founder Joseph Colombo. He died of natural causes when dodging a RICO indictment in March of 2004.
Dio got into trouble with the law on more than one occasion. U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Dewey considered Dio to be one of most dangerous mobsters in New York City before he reached age twenty-one. In 1937, Dio was sentenced to three to five years in prison at Sing Sing in Ossining, New York for assault and extortion. Dio was charging truckers $5000 in taxes in the garment district, plus demanding a premium on every suit and coat made in the area. In 1944, Dio was indicted for operating an illegal alcohol still. He later received a 60 day jail sentence for failure to pay state income tax on his illegal earnings. In November 1957, Dio received two years in prison for extorting money from stationery store owners. In 1969 film footage of John was placed in the documentary "Due Kennedy, I" by Gianni Bisiach.
A made man by the time he was forty, Dio soon became a capo in the family. Known as a "ferocious earner", he generated over $100,000 in income each week. Dio's usual Christmas present to his wife was a shoe box stuffed with $50,000 in currency and a note such as "buy yourself some nice clothes, honey". Dio lived the lifestyle of a celebrity, dining at the best restaurants and hotels. He kept Sundays for his family and friends and prepared lunch or dinner. He loved to cook and entertain at his house on Freeport Avenue in Point Lookout, Long Island, which he purchased for $75,000 in the early 1960’s. Dio's legitimate businesses included many highly profitable clothing factories and Jard Products in Manhattan, which sold promotional items to commercial establishments. The retail chain, Waldbaums was one of Jard's biggest customers. Johnny Dio is the basis for the Lee J. Cobb character "Johnny Friendly". Dio's legendary skill as a union manipulator came in handy many times. On one occasion, Thomas Lucchese asked Dio to aid an old friend, Jack Dragna, the boss of the Los Angeles crime family. Dragna's scheme of hiring non-union, cheap Mexican labor for his factories was being questioned by the ILGWU. Dioguardi’s expertise made sure that waivers occurred on every important project set up and foiled the union’s attempt. Senate investigations in the early 1950s showed Dio as a big player in the unions operating out of Idlewilde airport, later renamed JFK airport..


"The ethnic Albanian mafia is very powerful and extremely violent," said Kim Kliver, chief investigator for organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 with the Danish National Police.
Law enforcement authorities estimate that different Albanian mafia families may smuggle as much as 440 pounds of heroin a year into Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 at any given time.


Geneva Deputy Public Prosecutors state that the Albanian mafia is one of the most powerful ones among 7 identified mafias in the world. The other Mafia organizations around the world are the Russian Mafia
Russian Mafia
The Russian Mafia is a name applied to organized crime syndicates in Russia and Ukraine. The mafia in various countries take the name of the country, as for example the Ukrainian mafia....

, Chinese (Triad
Triad is a term used to describe many branches of Chinese criminal organizations based in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Macau, Taiwan, China, and also in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom...

), Japanese (Yakuza
, also known as , are members of traditional organized crime syndicates in Japan. The Japanese police, and media by request of the police, call them bōryokudan , literally "violence group", while the yakuza call themselves "ninkyō dantai" , "chivalrous organizations". The yakuza are notoriously...

), Italian Mafia, Colombian (drug cartels) organizations, and Mexican (drug cartels) organizations. The Albanian mafia controls the entire network of heroin trafficking in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. The Geneva deputy public prosecutors also added that the Albanian Mafia “is laundering a part of income in Geneva economy, restaurants, bars, real estate and cabarets”.

United States

"On the streets where the Italian Mob once ruled, a new syndicate was taking over, run by tough, ambitious Albanian immigrants, who still clump to a code of silence." - “We’re still trying to learn about their culture and figure out what makes them tick,” James Farley, FBI supervisory special agent, and expert on organized crime, says of the Albanians. “They’re difficult to infiltrate.”
“We’re just now catching up with Albanian organized crime,” he says. While Italian gangsters may be three or four generations removed from the old country, the Albanians grew up under brutal communist regimes, engaging in protracted blood feuds with rival clans, and subscribing to a strict code of silence that makes the Italian credo of omertà seem playful. “The first generation Albanians have a tendency to be more violent” than American-born syndicates, claims Hall.

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 Cosa Nostra
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 crime families
Crime family
A crime family is a term used to describe a unit of an organized crime syndicate, often operating within a specific geographic territory. The term is used almost exclusively to refer to units of the Mafia, both in Sicily and in the United States, although it is occasionally used to refer to other...

 before eventually growing strong enough to operate their own organizations under the Iliazi family name. Albanian organized crime has created new and unique problems for law-enforcement officers around the country, even threatening to displace La Cosa Nostra (LCN) families as kingpins of U.S. crime, according to FBI officials.

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."
The Polish mob
Polish Mob
Polish-American organized crime has existed in the United States throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Although not as well known as Russian, Italian-American, or Irish mafias, the Polish mob has a presence in many urban Polish American communities....

 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.

The Rudaj Organization, also called "The Corporation", was a well known Albanian criminal organization operating in the New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 metro area.


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
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a bipartisan Washington, D.C., foreign policy think tank. The center was founded in 1962 by Admiral Arleigh Burke and Ambassador David Manker Abshire, originally as part of Georgetown University...

 (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 cooperation 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
Vlorë is one of the biggest towns and the second largest port city of Albania, after Durrës, with a population of about 94,000 . It is the city where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912...

, a coastal town in southern Albania at the close of the 1990s.

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

"The Albanian Mafia seems to have established good working relationships with the Italian Mafia". "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". 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 Perugia, Africo, Plati, and Bovalino (Italy), fiefs of the Ndrangheta. Southern Albanian groups also have good relationships with Sicily’s Cosa Nostra

Roberto Saviano, the Italian writer, a good expert of Neapolitan Camorra 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 can't understand the Russian clans, which aren't based on family ties, and feels greater affinity with the Albanian crime families. Stated in a separate report, it was noted that there has been some resurgence in violence during the second post-communist decade and occasional ‘flare ups’ still occur today, for example in Italy, where Russian gangsters have recently sought to establish operations in the north (especially Milan), a strategy which has brought them into conflict with both the indigenous Italian and Albanian factions.

In an Albanian television station ShqipTV, 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.

According to the German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst
The Bundesnachrichtendienst [ˌbʊndəsˈnaːχʁɪçtnˌdiːnst] is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor's Office. Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin . The BND has 300 locations in Germany and foreign countries...

 (BND), in a leaked report to a Berlin newspaper; states that the 'Ndrangheta (one of the most notorious criminal organizations in Italy) "act in close co-operation with Albanian mafia families in moving weapons and narcotics across Europe's porous borders".

In later 2009 the disappearance of half a ton of cocaine from Gioia Tauro port caused frictions between 'Ndrangheta clans and Albanian gangs.

The Varca clan bought the drug together with an Albanian gang located in Belgium, but the shipment was run by the Pesce family from Rosarno
Rosarno is a comune in the province of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region of Calabria. It is about southwest of Catanzaro and about northeast of Reggio Calabria. Rosarno stands on a natural terrace cloaked in olive plantations and vineyards on the left bank of the river Mesima, overlooking...

, which controls the Gioia Tauro
Gioia Tauro
Gioia Tauro is a comune in the province of Reggio Calabria, in Calabria , on the Tyrrhenian coast. It has an important port, situated along the route connecting Suez to Gibraltar, one of the busiest maritime corridors in the world....

 port where the drug had to arrive before it was sent to Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 and northern Europe. But when the shipment arrived, the Pesces kept everything, and this made Pasquale Varca and Albanians angry. Some members of the Albanian gangs went to Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in order to meet Varca and talk about the problem.

Meanwhile, a member of the Varca group and a member of the Albanian gang nicknamed "Paolino", were planning a meeting with the Pesces, but when the Albanian confessed to Varca's man that he phoned Michele Oppedisano and he threatened him because of the money he lost, Pasquale Varca advised them not to go in order to avoid problems. In fact according to police they could be killed by the Pesces if they would go to the meeting.

In another conversation Varca is talking with Aurelio Petrocca, a member of the Arena family, and he said that he prevented Michele Oppedisano from killing "Paolino the Albanian" and he guaranteed the other Albanians he would come back alive from Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...


United Kingdom

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
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


Vice squad
Vice Squad
Vice Squad is a punk band formed in 1978 in Bristol, England. The band formed from two other local punk bands, The Contingent and TV Brakes. Songwriter and vocalist Beki Bondage was a founding member and is currently with the band, although there was a period of time when the band had a different...

 officers estimate that "Albanians now control more than 75 per cent of the country’s brothels and their operations in London’s Soho
Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable...

 alone are worth more than £15 million a year." They are said to be present in every big city in Britain as well as many smaller ones including Telford
Telford is a large new town in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England, approximately east of Shrewsbury, and west of Birmingham...

 and Lancaster
Lancaster, Lancashire
Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England. It is situated on the River Lune and has a population of 45,952. Lancaster is a constituent settlement of the wider City of Lancaster, local government district which has a population of 133,914 and encompasses several outlying towns, including...

, after having fought off rival criminals in turf wars. Associate groups within the organizations will also hide their criminal activities within restaurants, bars and clubs in an attempt to remain undercover.

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
Securitas depot robbery
The Securitas depot robbery was the largest cash robbery in British history, that took place on the evening of 21 February 2006 from 18:30 GMT until the early hours of 22 February...

 in 2006.


"Ethnic Albanians" (as the German police officially calls them), no matter where they come from — Albania, Republic of Macedonia, or Kosovo — created for a very short time in the last decade of the century, a very powerful criminal network, says Manfred Quedzuweit, director of the Police Department for Fighting the Organized Crime in Hamburg. "Here, it could be heard that they are even more dangerous than Cosa Nostra. Albanian "banks" in Germany are a special story. They are used for the transfer of money from Germany which amounts to a billion of D-marks a year. One of these banks was discovered by accident by the Düsseldorf police when they were checking a travel agency "Eulinda" owned by the Albanians. We haven't found a single catalogue or brochure for travelling at the agency, computers were not operating, nor the printer has been ever used. We found that "Eulinda" was a coverup for some other business, said high criminal counselor from Düsseldorf Rainer Bruckert. Eventually we found out that "Eulinda" had already transferred 150 million dollars to Kosovo — for "humanitarian purposes", says Bruckert. Money has been transferred by the couriers in special waist belts with many pockets. So, in a single one-way trip, they can carry up to six million D-marks.


The Albanian mafia has deep roots in Belgium, which was recently a topic of a special programme on Belgian RTBF Channel One. Reporters tried to investigate the roots of Albanian organized crime but have complained that it is too hard to penetrate the structure and organization of the Albanian mafia, but set out that the Albanian mafia acts on the model of the Italian one, whose crime is part of the "activities of entire families" and which has a clearly defined
hierarchy. The Albanian mafia in Brussels has monopoly over activities such as "narcotics and arms deals" according to Belgian sources.


Godfather of an Albanian Mafia family 'Daut Kadriovski' gained attention of Australian Authorities after creating a drug pipeline through Albanian and Croatian communities in Sydney and Brisbane.

Prominent Albanian Mafiosi

  • Alex Rudaj: The boss of the Albanian Mafia's Rudaj Organization based in the New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

  • 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 Lushnja Gang). According to Albanian authorities, “Banda e Lushnjës” is one of the most notorious organized crime group based in Lushnja, Albania which has international operations. According to Albanian authorities,“Banda e Lushnjës”, under Aldo Bare "Leads one of the most important international drug trafficking rings"'
  • Enver Sekiraqa
    Enver Sekiraqa
    Enver Sekiraqa,Born November 18,1972 a native of Kosovo, is a suspect sought by the Kosovo Police and Interpol in connection with an investigation into organized crime, the murder of Triumf Riza; a police officer, and several other murders and sex crimes....

    : On the Interpol’s wanted list for several crimes.
  • Ismail Lika
    Ismail Lika
    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 Giuliani's prosecutors in 1985. Ismail Lika was the leader of an ethnic Albanian criminal outfit involved in trafficking heroin from Afghanistan...

    : 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
    Rudy Giuliani
    Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

    '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.
  • Lul Berisha Leader of a notorious clan based in Durrës
    Durrës is the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically important cities of Albania. Durres is situated at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari...

    , 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
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

    , Italy, and Germany.
  • Lulzim Krasniqi: (1863–2006) Former leader of the Albania Mafia based in Zagreb, Croatia.
  • Almir Rrapo: Leader of the "Krasniqi Crew" based in New York and other US cities.
  • Daut Kadriovski: Acting boss of one of the 15 families.
  • Zef Mustafa: Albanian Mafia kingpin based in New York City.
  • Agim Gashi: Leader of an Albanian Mafia clan based in Italy.
  • Osmani Brothers: According to the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst
    The Bundesnachrichtendienst [ˌbʊndəsˈnaːχʁɪçtnˌdiːnst] is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor's Office. Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin . The BND has 300 locations in Germany and foreign countries...

    ) the Osmani brothers as the "most important figures of organized crime in Hamburg and other cities in Germany"
  • Krasniqi Brothers: Bruno Krasniqi and Saimir Krasniqi; leaders of an international crime organization engaged in murder, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities in Albania and the U.S.
  • Myfit (Mike) Dika: Former drug kingpin of the “Balkan Criminal Enterprises,”; an international criminal organization which spanned from Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    , the United States, to Europe.
  • Kapllan Murat: Belgium's most notorious mobster. He was one of the masterminds behind the kidnapping of former Belgian Prime Minister Paul Vanden Boeynants
    Paul Vanden Boeynants
    Paul Emile François Henri Vanden Boeynants was a Belgian politician. He served as the 41st Prime Minister of Belgium for two brief periods ....

     in 1989. Three days later, the criminals published a note in the leading Brussels newspaper Le Soir
    Le Soir
    Le Soir is a Berliner Format Belgian newspaper. Le Soir was founded in 1887 by Emile Rossel. It is the most popular Francophone newspaper in Belgium, and considered a newspaper of record.-Editorial stance:...

    , demanding 30 million Belgian francs in ransom. Paul Vanden Boeynants
    Paul Vanden Boeynants
    Paul Emile François Henri Vanden Boeynants was a Belgian politician. He served as the 41st Prime Minister of Belgium for two brief periods ....

     was released (physically unharmed) a month later, on 13 February, when an undisclosed ransom was paid to the perpetrators.
  • Plaurent "Lenti" Dervisha: On the Interpol's and FBI's most wanted list as being the leading member of a criminal organization based in Durrës, Albania, who Albanian authorities say is the brother-in-law of Lul Berisha; a reputed leader of a notorious criminal organization.
  • John Alite
    John alite
    John Edward Alite a.k.a. "Johnny Alletto" is a New York City 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...

     or (Johnny Alletto): (born September 30, 1962) is a New York City 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, Florida 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.
  • 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.

In films

  • An Albanian criminal organization in Paris is responsible for the kidnapping of Liam Neeson
    Liam Neeson
    Liam John Neeson, OBE is an Irish actor who has been nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and three Golden Globe Awards.He has starred in a number of notable roles including Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List, Michael Collins in Michael Collins, Peyton Westlake in Darkman, Jean Valjean in Les...

    's character's daughter in Taken
    Taken (film)
    Taken is a 2008 action thriller film produced by Luc Besson, starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, and Famke Janssen. The screenplay is written by Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and was directed by Pierre Morel...

  • Drive (2011 film)
    Drive (2011 film)
    Drive is a 2011 American crime neo-noir drama film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling as the principal character, with Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks...

    :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
    James Biberi
    James Biberi is an Albanian American actor. He was born in Albania.-Filmography:Biberi also provided the voice for the Police in the 2005 video game The Warriors.-External links:...

  • Le Chiffre is the main villain of the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale
    Casino Royale (2006 film)
    Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond...

    , portrayed by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen
    Mads Mikkelsen
    ' is a Danish actor.-Life and career:Mikkelsen was born in the Østerbro area of Copenhagen, the son of Bente Christiansen and Henning Mikkelsen, a cab driver. He is the brother of actor Lars Mikkelsen. After attending Århus Theatre School, he made his film debut in the movie Pusher...

    . Believed by MI6 to be Albanian, Le Chiffre is banker to the world's terrorist organizations.
  • 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
    Pusher III
    Pusher 3 is a 2005 Danish crime film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. It is the final film of the Pusher trilogy and released in August 2005.-Plot:...

  • Dossier K, a Belgian crime thriller, portrays the Albanian mafia in Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • In "We Own the Night
    We Own the Night
    We Own the Night is a 2007 American crime drama film written and directed by James Gray and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall. It is the third film directed by Gray, and the second film to feature Phoenix and Wahlberg together, the first being The Yards...

    "; 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.

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
    Marvel Comics
    Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

     comic The Punisher: Frank Castle
    The Punisher: Frank Castle
    The Punisher: Frank Castle is a comic book ongoing series published under the MAX imprint of Marvel Comics, featuring vigilante anti-hero, the Punisher....

    deals with Albanian criminals engaged in human trafficking.
  • In the American TV show No Ordinary Family
    No Ordinary Family
    No Ordinary Family is an American television series on ABC. The 45-minute science fiction comedy-drama was produced by ABC Studios for the 2010–11 television season. The series ran from September 28, 2010 to April 5, 2011, on Tuesdays at 8 pm ET/PT...

    episode "No-Ordinary Mobster" deals with the main character attempting to stop violent Albanian mobsters.
  • Top Gear, a British car show, featured an episode (comedy) in which they tested three luxury automakers; Rolls-Royce Ghost, Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a series of luxury sedans produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The classification was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116 S-Class, which succeeded previous Mercedes-Benz models dating to the mid-1950s...

    , and Bentley Mulsanne
    Bentley Mulsanne
    The Bentley Mulsanne is a performance luxury car which was produced by Bentley Motors Limited from 1980 until 1992, though derivative models like the Continental T and Azure continued in production into the 2000s...

    , to see which would be best suitable for Albanian Mafia bosses.

In games

  • The videogame Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by British games developer Rockstar North. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system...

    features the "Petrela gang" a small crew of Albanian shylocks and goods smugglers. The only known members are Dardan Petrela, Kalem Vulaj, and Bledar Morina. Later in the game, Albanian gangs appear working as muscle for other organizations, such as the Cosa Nostra
    The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

     or the Bratva. In Liberty City
    Liberty City (Grand Theft Auto)
    Liberty City is a fictional city in Rockstar Games' video games series Grand Theft Auto, based primarily on several major cities including New York City...

     the Albanian mob holds a stronghold in the Little Bay section of Bohan.
  • In the video game Socom 2 your first mission is to capture several kingpins in Albania.

In documentary

External links