Banana Importer Escapes to Germany over Columbian Drugs Seized in Albanian Port

Tirana, Feb 29 (Tirana Echo) – The owner of an fruit import company registered to receive a truck full of bananas from Columbia, has escaped to Germany as Albanian authorities seek to investigate his involvement over 613kg of cocaine found underneath the fruit load in the port of Durres.

Arbër Çekaj who owns the “Arbri Garden” fruit importing firm, had left the country three days before Albanian police blocked the suspicious truck full of bananas, which later this week was found with 613kg of Columbian cocaine hidden in the truck.

The police had initially blocked the truck by diverting it to a storage facility in the nearby village of Maminas, hoping the company owner would turn up to claim the merchandise. However, Çekaj had already left the international airport of Tirana for Germany.

Çekaj is suspected of international trafficking of narcotics as police found out that underneath the banana load there were 613kg of cocaine coming from Columbia. Police suspect the load was not destined for the Albanian market, but to be distributed towards other European destinations.

Talking to an Albanian local channel News24, Mr. Çekaj denied any involvement with drug trafficking and said he has nothing to do with the drugs hidden underneath the fruits he had ordered.

“I left for Germany with my wife on Saturday but I will come back. I am a modest entrepreneur with no connection to drugs or politics. The containers are not linked to my company. I will return but I feel unsafe in Albania. In the meantime I have hired a lawyer in Germany and pending his instructions I will decide on my return date to Tirana”, said Çekaj.

The 613kg of cocaine was discovered after a police operation coded ‘Last Snow’ revealed a the massive quantity of drugs spread across 528 individually wrapped packages. The drugs filled truck had transited from Columbia via Italy and Malta before arriving in Albania, where it was finally confiscated by Albanian authorities.

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