Albania's Cocaine Haul Draws Both Praise and Accusations

It was a fine day for Albanian's embattled police - whose image was badly tarnished reports of close connections between senior police officers and drug-lords last year.

An investigation that lasted about two weeks ended on Wednesday with police seizing a record quantity of Colombian cocaine.

However, while the police received well deserved praise for the operation, some question whether the size of the drug haul is a sign of police success - or whether it is also as a sign of how massive the drug smuggling business in Albania has become.

US ambassador Donald Lu and the EU Delegation in Tirana offered warm words to the Albanian police for nabbing 613 kg of cocaine, found in a banana container on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Edi Rama also hailed the operation as a great success for the police.

But not everyone is convinced that everything is as it should be.

The operation, which police said "was conducted without outside help", ended with the arrest of two 25-year-old Albanians, while a third suspect, a businessman, remains on the run.

"The US Embassy and the US Drug Enforcement Administration commend the Albanian State Police, Serious Crimes Prosecutors, and Customs officials for the seizure of 614 kilos of Colombian cocaine yesterday in Durres," the US Embassy wrote on its Facebook page.

"It is a welcome sign that Albanian law enforcement is being vigilant, but also a worrying signal that the trafficking of cocaine and other drugs is increasing," the US statement added.

The EU Delegation in Tirana followed up shortly in another Facebook post. "Well done, step up the fight against organized crime even more. Criminals cannot win over power of law," it read.

However, the opposition is far from convinced that...

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