The internal documents published on the Telegram channel include email correspondence in February 2022 between Gledis Nano, Albania’s then director of police, and Alastair King-Smith, the UK ambassador to Albania. It is among a cache of 1,400 hacked and leaked emails involving Mr Nano.
In one email, the police chief thanks Mr King-Smith for his help, stressing that “indeed we need your support now and in the future for our joint efforts against organised crime”.
It reveals that Border Force proposes to deploy officers to Albania to help “scope” plans for a major expansion of ports in Albania and to advise on security measures that could be taken to combat illegal immigration and the import of cocaine into Europe by organised crime gangs.
The memo, revealed in the leak, shows the Border Force role will focus on the Albanian ports of Durres and Porto Romano to “assess the container traffic, Ro/Ro, passengers, port and law enforcement IT systems, and the current operational capabilities that exist within the port”.
It also discloses attempts to create an “integrated approach” between Albania and Montenegro to combat drug and people smuggling through Durres, Porto Romano and Bar in Montenegro.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has identified Albanian gangs as behind much of the European trade in cocaine, particularly in the south of England. Albanian criminals have also used their home-grown expertise in agroponics to expand into cannabis farms, usurping a market previously dominated by Vietnamese gangs.
Law enforcement agencies fear the surge in Albanians attempting to enter the UK illegally across the Channel on small boats is providing a ready source of recruits for the gangs operating in the UK.