Mapping Conflict Part One: Heroin

The Heroin Trade: From Afghanistan to Mozambique and onto Johannesburg and finally Europe. Heroin is listed as the second largest export by value for Mozambique:

The Heroin Trade: From Afghanistan to Western Europe via the Balkans and Russia. Heroin export value for Afghanistan is 4 billion:

“More than 90 percent of all heroin consumed in the U.S. is of Mexican origin. But in Canada more than 90 percent of the heroin consumed is of Afghan origin,” - U.S. Assistant Secretary for Drugs and Law Enforcement William Brownfield


"Of the estimated 450 tons of heroin that enter the illicit global drug market annually, approximately 380 tons of heroin and morphine are produced from Afghan opium, and an additional five tons are consumed within the country itself. In 2016, Afghanistan’s poppy fields spanned 201,000 hectares, a 10% increase from the previous year. The nation’s overall opium production rose by 43% to 4,800 metric tons between 2015 and 2016, and the average opium yield per hectare increased by 30%. Significant increases were also seen in the Northern region of the country, which saw a 324% increase in opioid cultivation from 2015" - Nabil Batia (Opioids in the Golden Crescent)

..."a vital role is being played by crime syndicates from Eastern Europe—Ukraine in particular—and the Balkans. Throughout Western Europe, police report that whole sectors of criminal activity are being taken over by ethnic-Albanian syndicates trading on their success as drug-smugglers.

These fraternities, whose origins may be in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia or in the long-established Albanian communities of southern Italy, have no compunction about doing business with Serbian gangsters. They share with them the proceeds from drug- and gun-running, as well as the traffic in prostitutes from Ukraine, Romania and Moldova. According to police, ethnic-Albanian drug-running families are almost impossible to infiltrate because of the closeness of the family and clan structure and the difficulty of the language.

In Prague, Albanians are fighting turf wars to oust Ukrainians controlling the heroin trade, while in London Jamaican pimps—not known for their respect for women's rights—complain of Albanian violence towards the East European prostitutes they control. When police in Oslo made Norway's largest-ever heroin seizure, they discovered that former fighters from the Kosovo Liberation Army controlled the drug-distribution chain. Heroin-dealing in Switzerland is dominated by Albanians. This year, much of the money made went to buy arms for the rebels fighting in Macedonia and a strip of southern Serbia." - The Economist

"The threat faced from Albanian crime groups is significant. London is their primary hub, but they are established across the UK. "

Now a "league table" of the birth nationalities of more than 33,000 of Britain's most dangerous criminals reveals how rapidly they have spread their network.

Three years ago Albanians were the sixth largest group recorded in the NCA's organised criminal group mapping project, which includes data from police forces and customs and border guards.

At the end of 2017 Albanians were up to third place, overtaking Romanians for the first time.

The figures also show large increases in Chinese and Iraqi gangs, while Pakistanis linked to the heroin trade remain second" - Felix Allen (The Sun)

German Federal Police now say that Kosovar Albanians import 80 percent of Europe’s heroin. So dominant is the Kosovar presence in trafficking that many European users refer to illicit drugs in general as “Albanka,” or Albanian lady. - Peter Klebnikov (Mother Jones)