http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_c...rk_from_c.htmlThe feds have smashed an international drug-trafficking ring run by ethnic Albanians accused of smuggling tractor-trailer loads of marijuana into New York City from Canada and California.
More than a dozen suspected members of the syndicate were rounded up Wednesday by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local police in the city, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida.
An indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court charges a total of 37 drug traffickers including reputed ringleaders Gjavit "Doc" Thaqi, Arif "The Bear" Kurti and Gjevelin Berisha.
Kurti is currently serving a five-year sentence in Albania for heroin trafficking "but continues to direct syndicate operations through his use of smuggled cellular telephones and BlackBerry devices," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Tiscione wrote in court papers.
Prosecutors say the syndicate is responsible for the importation of tens of thousands of kilos of marijuana into the U.S. that were stored in warehouses and stash locations in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
The group also exported cocaine hidden inside luxury automobiles shipped to Albania and other European countries, and diverted thousands of oxycodone pills from pain clinics in Florida to New York, where the meds were sold.
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said the syndicate's "10-year run has now come to an end."
The syndicate is comprised of several inter-related ethnic Albanian clans known as "fis," according to Tiscione.
Most of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon before Magistrate Andrew Carter.