Skip to comments....Albanian Government Aide Arrested; Newly Unsealed Indictment Charges 17 Defendants....
Posted on 08/25/2010 2:55:10 PM PDT by Cindy
NOTE The following text SNIPPET is a quote:
Two Additional Arrests Made of Members of Violent International Organized Crime Group
Albanian Government Aide Arrested; Newly Unsealed Indictment Charges 17 Defendants with Murder, Kidnapping, and Other Racketeering Offenses
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced the arrests of FLORIAN VESHI and ALMIR RRAPO for their roles in a racketeering enterprise that engaged in murder, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery, arson, obstruction of justice, and interstate transportation of stolen goods. VESHI and RRAPO are charged in a new superseding 13-count indictment unsealed yesterday which supersedes charges previously filed against 15 other individuals, including charges of kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, robbery, and firearms crimes.
VESHI was arrested yesterday in New York City by members of the New York Joint Organized Crime Task Force, which includes agents of the FBI and detectives of the NYPD, and was detained following a court appearance in Manhattan federal court. ALMIR RRAPO was arrested by the Albanian National Police on July 2, 2010, at the request of the United States. At the time of his arrest, RRAPO was employed as the Senior Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister of Albania.
Ten co-defendantsBRUNO KRASNIQI, SAIMIR KRASNIQI, ERKLIANT SULA, SKENDER CAKONI, a/k/a "Neri," GJOVALIN BERISHA, a/k/a "Cuz," NAZIH NASSER, a/k/a "Naz," PLAURENT CELA, GENTIAN NIKOLLI, a/k/a "Genti," SHKELZEN BALIDEMAJ, and ALBERT TAMALI, a/k/a "Berti," a/k/a "Daniel Weiss"were arrested in June 2010 on the prior indictment in this case. GENTIAN CARA, MARJAN TAMALI, and JOANNA PAKULSKI, each residents of Canada, were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police based on requests for their provisional arrest in connection with a prior Indictment; CARA was extradited to the United States on August 6, 2010, and U.S. extradition requests for MARJAN TAMALI and PAKULSKI remain pending. Two other defendantsDUKAJIN NIKOLLAJ, a/k/a "Duke," and VISI LNUremain at large.
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court and other documents filed in the case:
BRUNO KRASNIQI, SAIMIR KRASNIQI, ALMIR RRAPO, ERKLIANT SULA, FLORIAN VESHI, and others participated in a racketeering enterprise (the "Krasniqi Organization") led by brothers BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR KRASNIQI, which operated in New York, Michigan, Connecticut, and elsewhere. The Krasniqi Organization sought to enrich its members through various criminal schemes, including the trafficking of more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana, and used firearms and violence to protect its power and territory, as well as to instill fear among rival drug dealers and victims.
Members of the Krasniqi Organization are charged with two separate homicides. First, as a result of a turf battle with a marijuana dealer whom the Krasniqi Organization had robbed, various members of the Organization, including BRUNO KRASNIQI, SAIMIR KRASNIQI, and ALMIR RRAPO, murdered ERION SHEHU in a drive by-shooting outside a Queens café on July 17, 2005.
Second, approximately six months later, while driving on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on January 14, 2006, BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR KRASNIQI shot ERENICK GREZDA twice in the head at point-blank range and dumped his body on the side of the highway. The shooting was the result of the KRASNIQIS belief that GREZDA had set up BRUNO KRASNIQI to be kidnapped by a group of Albanian marijuana dealers from whom the Krasniqi Organization had stolen approximately $250,000 worth of marijuana. Following the murder of GREZDA, FLORIAN VESHI and ERKLIANT SULA drove the SUV in which GREZDA was killed to New Jersey, where they set fire to it.
In addition to these murders, various members of the Krasniqi Organization are charged with two separate kidnappings. One kidnapping occurred in or about June 2005, when BRUNO KRASNIQI, SAIMIR KRASNIQI, ALMIR RRAPO, and other members of the Organization kidnapped a rival drug dealer ("Victim-2") at gunpoint, pistol-whipped him, and placed the muzzle of a firearm in his mouth, threatening to kill him if he did not disclose the locations of other members of his narcotics crew. A second kidnapping occurred in Michigan in or about 2003, when members of the Krasniqi Organization kidnapped an individual ("Victim-3") at gunpoint and threatened to kill him in a co-conspirators residence, because they believed that Victim-3 had disrespected another member of the Krasniqi Organization.
In addition to these charges, the defendants are also charged with having conspired to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, a drug robbery, extortions, firearms possession and use, and obstruction of justice, among other offenses.
The attached table summarizes the charges and potential penalties. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge RICHARD J. HOLWELL.
Mr. BHARARA praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and NYPD in the Joint Organized Crime Task Force. He added that the investigation is continuing.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: "Today, nearly five years after the brutal murders of Erion Shehu and Erenick Grezda, we announce the indictment of individuals allegedly responsible for these heinous crimes. This case reminds us that, despite the increasingly global nature of organized crime, its dangers are right here on our city streets. I applaud the unwavering commitment of and cooperative efforts of local, federal, and international law enforcement partners to dismantle international organized crime groups wherever they may be found."
FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK stated: "Florian Veshi was arrested this morning for allegedly carrying out a laundry list of crimes. His co-conspirators were arrested months ago and this puts an end to the Krasniqi Organization's criminal operations. The Brooklyn neighborhood where Veshi lived will now be a safer place with him off the streets."
New York City Police Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY stated: "This case illustrates the nexus between marijuana trafficking and deadly violence, with rivals reverting to kidnapping and intimidation to control the market. I commend the NYPD detectives and FBI agents for their work in successfully apprehending these violent felons."
This case is being handled by the Office's Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys AVI WEITZMAN and MICHAEL FERRARA are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Albanian racketeers? I’m shocked, SHOCKED!
thanks for the ping Cindy.
You’re welcome Clive.
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Two Leaders of Violent Albanian Drug Gang Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court
Defendants Convicted of Two Murders, Three Kidnappings, Racketeering, and Other Offenses
U.S. Attorneys Office
December 07, 2011
Southern District of New York
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that brothers BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR KRASNIQI, leaders of a violent Albanian organized crime group, were convicted yesterday of numerous crimes, including racketeering, murder, conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, arson, robbery, extortion, obstruction of justice, interstate transportation of stolen narcotics, and possession and use of firearms. The KRASNIQIs were found guilty after a five-week jury trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Holwell.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: Bruno and Saimir Krasniqi led one of the most brutal and violent organized crime groups in recent memory. In one six-month period, they committed two murders, two kidnappings, two drug robberies, and an arson. Today, nearly six years after the brutal murders they orchestrated, the jurys swift verdict has brought the Krasniqis reign of terror to an end and the perpetrators of these vicious crimes to justice.
According to the trial evidence and other documents filed in the case:
BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR KRASNIQI led a racketeering enterprise (the Krasniqi Organization) that engaged in murder, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery, arson, obstruction of justice, and interstate transportation of stolen goods. The Krasniqi Organization operated in New York, Michigan, and Connecticut, among other locations.
Among other offenses, BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR KRASNIQI were convicted of two separate homicides. On July 17, 2005, Erion Shehu, a member of a rival Albanian drug crew, was murdered outside a Queens café in a drive-by shooting carried out by the Krasniqi Organization. On the night of the murder, SAIMIR KRASNIQI parked in front of Shehus car, trapping him inside. BRUNO KRASNIQI and another member of the organization then shot Shehu approximately 11 times with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and a .22 caliber handgun equipped with a silencer. Shehu died of multiple gunshot wounds shortly thereafter.
The murder of Erion Shehu was the result of a turf battle with a rival Albanian drug gang. The Krasniqi Organization had previously robbed a member of the rival gang at gunpoint of approximately 20 pounds of marijuana. Approximately two weeks prior to the murder of Shehu, members of the Krasniqi Organization, including BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR
KRASNIQI, kidnapped another member of the rival drug gang, Neritan Kocareli, at gunpoint, pistol-whipped him, and threatened to kill him if he did not disclose the locations of other members of his narcotics crew.
On January 13, 2006, the KRASNIQIs executed Erenick Grezda, a member of their organization, because they believed he had previously set BRUNO KRASNIQI up to be kidnapped by rival drug dealers from whom BRUNO KRASNIQI had stolen $250,000 worth of marijuana. Grezda was shot twice in the head while he was sitting in an SUV that belonged to another member of the organization. Following the murder, the KRASNIQIs and other organization members drove the SUV to New Jersey, where they set it on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence inside.
In addition to these crimes, the KRASNIQIs were convicted of participating in two other kidnappings. In 2003, members of the Krasniqi organization kidnapped a victim in Michigan at gunpoint and threatened to kill him because they believed he had disrespected one of their members. In July 2005, members of the Krasniqi Organization kidnapped and shot at a victim in Staten Island as part of a dispute with yet another Albanian drug gang.
The KRASNIQIs were also convicted of conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiring to commit extortion, two counts of firearms possession and use, including possession of a firearm with a silencer, and obstruction of justice.
BRUNO KRASNIQI and SAIMIR KRASNIQI each face two mandatory minimum sentences of life in prison, as well as 60-year mandatory minimum sentences for the narcotics and firearms convictions.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the FBIs Balkan Organized Crime Task Force, comprised of Special Agents of the FBI and Detectives of the New York City Police Department, for their work on the investigation. He also thanked the Office of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division, the U.S. State Department, and the Albanian authorities, for their assistance in the investigation and extradition of Almir Rrapo, who had been employed as the Senior Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Albania at the time of his arrest in Albania on charges relating to his association with the Krasniqi Organization and his participation in the murder of Erion Shehu, the kidnapping of Neritan Kocareli, and narcotics trafficking. On April 11, 2011, following his extradition to the United States, Rrapo pled guilty to racketeering, murder, kidnapping, narcotics, and firearms charges pursuant to a cooperation agreement with the government.
This case is being handled by the Offices Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Avi Weitzman, Natalie LaMarque, and Ian McGinley are in charge of the prosecution.